Submit your nominations to honor employers who hire and retain workers with disabilities

Photo courtesy Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues & Employment

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, the committee said in a press release announcing the nominations.

“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.”

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.

You can review the nomination instructions here.

Online form: 2023 GCDE employer awards nomination instructions and submission form.

By request: If you need the submission form in a different format or need additional assistance filling out the nomination submission form, please email

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

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