Inclusion Drives Innovation

The Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment (GCDE) promotes equality, opportunity, independence and full participation in life for people with disabilities. Their members represent a wide range of constituent groups, geographical perspectives, ethnic origins and cultural heritage. The organization is celebrating its 26th anniversary of the Governor’s Employer Awards Program.  Governors in Washington State have a long history of recognizing Best Practices that positively shape employment opportunities for workers with disabilities.

The Awards Program shines a spotlight on businesses and agencies and recognizes their efforts to recruit, hire and advance the employment of individuals with disabilities.  Carolyn Blair Brown, the first recipient of the Governor’s Trophy, established a legacy for those who followed. This Trophy honors an individual for his or her efforts to develop or influence programs, services, legislation etc. which have resulted in positive outcomes to enhance the empowerment of individuals with disabilities.

GCDE is partnering with the Washington State Business Leadership Network to host the 2018 Governor’s Employer Awards Program.  They are thrilled to have assembled a robust team of leaders in the disability community and trailblazers in business community to participate in the planning process.

The nomination deadline for this year’s Awards Program is August 31, 2018.  The GCDE is soliciting nominations in five categories:

  1. Private and Non-Profit Employers – small, medium and large categories;
  2. Public Employers – federal or governmental entities (city, county, state or municipality;)
  3. Youth Employer -employers supporting youth with disabilities through employment preparation and job skills training;
  4. Governor’s Trophy in Memory of Carolyn Blair Brown – the highest honor presented to an individual with a disability in Washington State; and
  5. Direct Support Professional Award – an individual who has made significant achievements in the successful employment of persons with disabilities.


Why nominate an employer or individual?

  • To acknowledge employers successfully creating inclusive work places;
  • To showcase an employer’s achievements and share best practices, challenging employers to continue to improve and provide more opportunities for success;
  • To provide a marketing story and an opportunity to share the success with the business community; and
  • To recognize someone with a disability who has made a positive difference for the disability community.

What can you do?

  • Submit a nomination for someone you know or do business with and help us honor an outstanding business, employer or individual who has demonstrated a commitment to hire workers with disabilities.
  • Encourage employers to self-nominate! They are the best resource to share their success stories and highlight the strategies used to recruit, hire, and advance workers with disabilities.
  • Utilize your personal experience as job developers, job coaches and service providers and work with management, human resources and line staff to develop a comprehensive nomination packet.

For more information please contact Emily Heike at (360) 902-9440 or email at