On September 27th, Delaware Governor Jack Markell, the current chairman of the National Governor’s Association, convened an advocacy community briefing to solicit best practices and insight on employing citizens with disabilities. Governor Markell, at the beginning of his term, declared that his focus as NGA chairman would be on developing ways that states can help people with disabilities to find jobs.
Allison Wohl, NDI’s Director of Public Policy, represented NDI at the meeting. In her remarks to the governor, Wohl emphasized that while critical to quality of life, the employment of people with disabilities is a means to an end; it is not an end in and of itself and employment outcomes must be linked to strategies that advance economic stability and mobility including:
- Financial education
- Financial coaching
- Access to affordable financial services
- Matched savings plans
- Use of work incentives and favorable tax provisions (EITC)
Our focus, Wohl stressed, must be on an overall economic empowerment strategy that includes working, saving and asset building.
NDI offered recommendations to Governor Markell on best practices for governors on both employing people with disabilities and supporting businesses who hire people with disabilities. The bottom line to governors is that states should not ask the private sector to embark on a program like this if they are not willing to do it themselves.