GCDE projects


We have general membership meetings three times a year. Between those meetings, established subcommittees meet to work on special projects that were recommended by each subcommittee and approved by the general membership.

Accessible Communities Advisory Committees

The Accessible Community Advisory Committees (ACAC) Act was promoted by the Legislature to help communities be more welcoming and inclusive for persons with disabilities and to promote and provide equal access to the opportunities available to others. Their participation enriches communities, enhances the strength of the diversity of a community and contributes toward the economic vitality of a community.


ODEP, the Employment and Training Administration, and the Social Security Administration developed the RETAIN initiative — Retaining Employment and Talent after Injury/Illness Network — to implement and evaluate early intervention strategies designed to improve SAW/RTW outcomes. It is staffed by Program Coordinator Hillary Rossi.

Project-focused subcommittees

Governor’s Employer Awards Program
Recognizes and promotes the achievements of employers and individuals who have improved employment opportunities for people with disabilities.  

Photos from the 2018 Governor's Employer Awards

The 2019 Nomination Process is now open!

Click this link to download the 2019 Governor's Employer Awards Nomination Packet.

Community Outreach
Conducts outreach, information and advocacy events in communities throughout the state. The committee gathers information and then makes recommendations to elected officials, local service providers and leaders in the disability community.

The most recent public Town Hall Forum was in Walla Walla in April 2019. 

The committee discussed with residents of the Walla Walla Valley areas:

  • Accessible housing
  • Services for families in need
  • Jobs for people with disabilities
  • Accessible transportation
  • All other issues affecting people with disabilities, their families and their advocates

Read the full Outreach report.

Read the report in Spanish.

For questions or to invite the Community Outreach Subcommittee to your community, contact Melinda Johnson at MSJohnson@esd.wa.gov.

Recruits and evaluates applicants, makes appointment recommendations to the Governor, and supports the development of the potential of the committee's members.  

See more about becoming a GCDE member, and view current members.  

Youth Leadership Forum

Provides a six-day residential leadership development program for high school juniors and seniors with disabilities. The 2019 Youth Leadership Forum is August 4-9 at the Dumas Bay Centre in Federal Way, WA.

Follow YLF on Facebook.

For more information, please email the committee staff at gcde@esd.wa.gov.

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