From the Desk of Governor Jay Inslee
I firmly believe that every person deserves the chance to live a full, dignified, and independent life, and that includes having the opportunity to work. That is why one of my first executive orders as governor was aimed at increasing employment opportunities within state government for those who have disabilities. Our state has a stake in working to increase hiring and promoting a workforce that is reflective of the diversity of our population.
A new commitment
Washington State is committed to doubling the number of jobs attained by people with disabilities by 2015. The spearhead of this effort is the state’s participation in the Disability Employment Innovations Grant (DEI) through the US Department of Labor. Coordinating this effort is the Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment (GCDE) a division of the state Employment Security Department. I am pleased that the Association of Washington Business (AWB) our states chamber of commerce through its not-for-profit affiliate the AWB Institute (AWBI) is a partner in this effort. I believe strongly in the power of public/private collaboration to achieve great results for social change.
A demand side approach
The private businesses of Washington continue to do a great job in increasing the number of people with disabilities they hire and retain. The businesses featured in the Spotlight section of this website are just a few of the outstanding examples of how businesses, employees and customers all benefit from greater inclusion. As a partner in the DEI grant, the AWB Institute is working with the nearly 8,500 members of AWB and the greater business community within our state to do an even better job of bringing people with disabilities into the workforce. By addressing the “demand side” of the project, educating business leaders and owners to the bottom line benefits of hiring, maintaining, and promoting people with disabilities, AWBI will be able to make a significant contribution to the achievement of the state’s disability employment goals. Simultaneously, Washington businesses will gain access to a new source of skilled and dedicated workers.
I am convinced that there is a job in our state for everyone to match his or her skills. I look forward to watching the progress of this initiative as it unfolds.