State Exchange on Employment and Disability (SEED)

Disability & Employment - Policymaker Resources

Click Here For Our Newest Podcast Episode: "Unseen But Heard: State Solutions to Non-Visible Disabilities in the Workplace" (Transcript)

Hawaii State Representative Lauren Matsumoto
Illinois State Senator Mattie Hunter
Maryland State Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes
South Dakota Board of Education Standards Member and former State Representative, Jacqueline Sly
In this episode, policymakers discuss state and community strategies that improve employment outcomes for people with "invisible disabilities", those that go undetected by the naked eye.

What is SEED?

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) launched the State Exchange on Employment and Disability (SEED) in collaboration with the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL), the Council of State Governments (CSG), and Women In Government (WIG) to help state legislators effectively address policy barriers that may hinder the employment of people with disabilities. Through these collaborations, SEED is dedicated to ensuring that state policymakers have the tools and resources they need to develop policies related to disability-inclusive workforce development. Read more about SEED here. 

Women In Government's Companion Toolkit: "State Strategies to Assist Employees with Mental Health and Substance Use Issues Stay At Work/Return To Work"

Check out SEED's latest info brief on "Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work"

Advancing Policy for a More Inclusive Workforce- March to Independence

Advancing Policy for a More Inclusive Workforce- Transportation Challenges 

SEED Podcast Episode 1: Employability of People with Disabilities

SEED Podcast Episode 2: Career Planning and Credentialing for People with Disabilities

**NEW** SEED Podcast Episode 3: Employer Perspectives for Improving Employment Outcomes for People with Disabilities (Transcript)

Women In Government SEED Policy Roundtables

During 2016 we held two Policy Roundtables at our regional conference to provide our members the opportunity to discuss leverage points for positive policy and practice change in the area of employability of people with disabilities. Specifically, the session will elucidate which policies and/or practices are most promising, potentially problematic and what changes can be made to improve the execution of state actions. 

The roundtable is designed to provide time, information, thought partners, and expert facilitation to assist members in identifying the salient and common issues around employability of people with disabilities as well as potential policies which can be introduced.  Further, members had the opportunity to reflect on their own state policies and generate a set of recommendations and commitments to help move the most promising policies and practices forward.

Check out both agendas from the roundtables:

Roundtable Discussion:

Work Matters- A Framework for States on Workforce Development for People with Disabilities

Check out the project that NCSL and CSG have been working on called "Work Matters", also check out the emerging disability policy framework.

News Release: Six States Receive Nearly $15M in Grants to Expand Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities

WASHINGTON – Despite their ability to occupy a variety of jobs, people with disabilities only account for 19.8 percent of the workforce, have more than double the unemployment rate compared to the general population and continue to face barriers finding work. To improve employment opportunities for adults and youth with disabilities, the U.S. Department of Labor today announced grants totaling $14.9 million as part of the Disability Employment Initiative to six states.

“America works best when we field a full team, and that means making sure that everyone has access to opportunity in our dynamic economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “The grants we are awarding today will help to strengthen partnerships that ensure employers know that it is what people with disabilities CAN do that matters most.”

This is the seventh round of DEI funding. Since 2010, the department has awarded grants of more than $123 million through the initiative to 49 projects in 28 states to improve education, training, and employment outcomes of youth and adults with disabilities. More information on the DEI is available here.

DEI funds help refine and expand workforce strategies proven to be successful, and enhance inclusive service delivery through the public workforce system. Improvements include increasing the accessibility of American Job Centers, training front-line AJC and partner staff, and increasing partnerships and collaboration across numerous systems critical for assisting youth and adults with disabilities in securing meaningful employment.

Grantees of this year’s awards will use the funds to:

  • Improve employment outcomes and increase the number of individuals with disabilities who earn credentials.
  • Provide more and diversified job-driven training opportunities.
  • Facilitate academic and employment transition among youth.
  • Incorporate flexible approaches to designing and providing training and supportive services, including customized employment strategies to help jobseekers with significant disabilities.
  • Build effective community partnerships and collaborations across multiple service delivery systems and the effective blending and braiding of resources.
  • Promote more active engagement with the business sector.

The grants align closely with the Obama administration’s job-driven training principles by requiring multiple workforce and disability service providers, educational institutions and businesses in each state to collaborate extensively to promote the employment of persons with disabilities in career pathways.

Grant RecipientAward
State of California Employment Development Department$2,500,000
Connecticut Department of Labor$2,500,000
State of Idaho$2,500,000
Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development$2,500,000
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development$2,500,000
Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation$2,472,986


Additional Resources

Dayton rolls out new hiring plans for Minnesotans with disabilities


This Toolkit was developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy’s State Exchange on Employment & Disability (SEED) in its efforts to foster a nationwide workforce more inclusive of people with disabilities.