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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.

Project-focused subcommittees


Accessible Communities

The Accessible Communities 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.


Employer Awards

Recognizes and promotes the achievements of employers and individuals who have improved employment opportunities for people with disabilities.  

View the recording of the 2020 program or read the announcement about recipients

The Governor’s Employer Award’s Nomination Process is live!

The GCDE is proud to present the new Toby Olson Lifetime Impact Award, honoring an individual who embodies the qualities and characteristics of the late Toby Olson, and has made a lifetime commitment to addressing the inequities those with disabilities face in their community and at the state and national levels and can demonstrate specific, direct actions dramatically changing the lives of those in the disability community!

GCDE is implementing a two-step process for this Award.  The first step is a Letter of Intent prepared by the nominator and an Endorsement Letter prepared by a current, former or emeritus GCDE Member.  GCDE will review the information provided in the first step to determine if the nomination should proceed.  The nominator will be advised by telephone or by email whether the submission will be approved to move forward.  Following approval, the second step requires completion of an official nomination packet and supporting material which will then be reviewed by the Judging Panel.  A link to the official Toby Olson Nomination will be included in the GCDE approval letter.

Use the forms below to complete Step 1 of the process:

Letter of Intent (to be submitted by the Nominator)

Letter of Endorsement (to be submitted by a Current, Former, or Emeritus GCDE Member).


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 held virtually for the Camano Island/Stanwood area in Spring of 2021. Another virtual event is currently being planned for the Colville area in Spring of 2022.

The committee discussed with residents of the Camano Island/Stanwood areas:

  • Transportation

  • Guardianship

  • Community access

  • Affordable housing

  • Educational services

  • Employment

  • Local resources

  • And more

For questions or to invite the Community Outreach Subcommittee to your community, contact Program Coordinator Ryan Bondroff.  



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 or view current members.  


Youth Leadership Forum (YLF)

The 20th Annual Youth Leadership Forum will be held on August 7-12, 2022 at the Dumas Bay Center in Federal Way, WA.

WHO? Students 16 years of age ­­­­prior to the start of YLF and under the age of 22.

WHAT? The Washington State Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) is an innovative, intensive, six-day leadership training program for upcoming high school juniors and seniors with disabilities. Delegates are selected from around the state of Washington to cultivate leadership, and citizenship skills while having fun and making friends.

WHY? It is critical that young people with disabilities growing into adulthood learn to identify themselves with pride as individuals and members of the very accomplished disability community. 

COST?  The YLF is free to attend.
These services are made possible by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.


2022 YLF event flyer (PDF)

2022 YLF student application (Word)


Follow YLF on Facebook.

For more information about the Youth Leadership Forum, contact Elaine Stefanowicz at elaine.stefanowicz@esd.wa.gov or 360-890-3774.


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