Nominate Washington state employers who hire and retain workers with disabilities

OLYMPIA – To spotlight the important role disability plays in workforce diversity, the Washington State Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues & Employment (GCDE) is accepting nominations for the 31st Annual Governor’s Employer Awards.

The deadline to submit nominations is July 28, 2023.
The GCDE Employer Awards program honors and celebrates the many and varied contributions Washington’s employers make to recruit, hire and advance workers with disabilities.

Diversity and inclusion policies are correlated with high performance, and create opportunities, improve performance and boost profit margins.

“Washington state is known for our progressive stance on sustainable employability for all people,” said Yvonne Bussler-White, GCDE’s awards chair.  “Our private, for profit, and public employers support an environment based on equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism within our workforce.  The GCDE Employer Awards bring together committed individuals that grow our workforce by finding new solutions, steering us towards equitable solutions and creating inclusive communities.” 

Awards categories
The GCDE Awards Program honors employers of all sizes in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. It also honors an employer who supports youths with disabilities through employment preparation and job skills training. 

Three awards are presented to individuals:

  • Direct Support Professional Award: Honors a job coach or developer who has made significant achievements in the successful employment of workers with disabilities.
  • Governor’s Trophy in Memory of Carolyn Blair Brown: Honors a person with a disability who has developed or influenced programs, services and legislation, resulting in positive outcomes enhancing the empowerment of individuals with disabilities in Washington state.
  • Toby Olson Lifetime Achievement Award: Honors an individual who embodies the qualities and characteristics of the late Toby Olson. This person 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.

Nomination instructions
We encourage you to review the nomination instructions so you can prepare all of the required information before you submit your nomination form.

GCDE employer awards nomination submission form

2023 GCDE Employer Awards ceremony
The GCDE Employer Awards ceremony will be on Oct. 6, 2023, at the Wenatchee Convention Center.

“I am thrilled that this year’s ceremony will be held in beautiful Wenatchee,” said Damiana Harper, GCDE chair. “We are thrilled to bring this important event east of the Cascades. Washington is a big and diverse state, and we are so excited to be able to highlight one of our Eastern Washington communities.”