NEWS RELEASE

Gov. Gregoire: Washington Leads in Best Practices in Employment of People with Disabilities

OLYMPIA -- Nov. 8, 2005 - Gov. Chris Gregoire today said Washington has won national recognition from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) as a leader in employment of people with disabilities.

"Washington has long recognized that we must have a skilled, diverse and dedicated workforce to be successful," said Gov. Gregoire. "I am committed to continuing the practices and policies that recognize the talents of people with disabilities and to put those talents to work delivering services to the people of this state."

EEOC Chair Cari Dominguez today released the Final Report on Best Practices for the Employment of People with Disabilities in State Government today. The report is available online at www.eeoc.gov.

"We sought Washington's participation in this project because it has earned a reputation for leadership in recognizing and protecting the rights of people who have disabilities," said Dominguez. "By being the first state to step forward and commit to participate, Washington was instrumental in helping to make this project a success."

The report cites the work Washington State has done in providing guidance and reviews for reasonable accommodation policies, establishing a reasonable accommodation loan fund and Braille and taping access centers among several other accomplishments as examples of best practices.

"All employers," Dominguez said, "can learn from the best practices of our state partners cited in this report."

Washington was one of nine states participating in this project. The others were Florida, Maryland, Vermont, Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Utah.

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