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.

2020 GCDE Calendar 

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.


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.  

View photos from the 2019 Governor's Employer Awards  or read the news release about last year's winners. See the follow-up photos of last year's Employer Award winners with Governor Inslee. 

The 2020 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).

The SurveyMonkey Nomination Forms for the 2020 Annual Governor's Employer Awards can be accessed using this link to the electronic version (preferred), or by using the Official 2020 Nomination Packet PDF.

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 Shelton in February 2020.

The committee discussed with residents of the Shelton/Mason County areas:

  • Transportation
  • Guardianship
  • Community access
  • Affordable housing
  • Educational services
  • Employment
  • Local resources
  • And more

Read the full Outreach report.

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


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

The Governors Committee on Disability Issues and Employment is saddened to announce that the 20th Youth Leadership Forum scheduled for the last week of this July has been canceled in order to comply with COVID-19 recommendations. We were unable to generate favorable response to holding the Forum in a virtual format. Please watch this website for further information on the possibility of a mini-YLF (s) later this year.

Follow YLF on Facebook.

For more information about any of our projects, programs, or subcommittes, or to get involved, please email the committee staff at gcde@esd.wa.gov.

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