Design of a Community of Practice for State as Model Employer Activities
Design of a community of practice for state official engaged in work to increase the number of people with disabilities working in state government.
The Heldrich Center worked with the Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) on Disability Inclusion to explore and design a community of practice for state officials who were engaged in planning, developing, implementing, or improving activities designed to increase the number of individuals with disabilities employed in state government. Heldrich Center research conducted for the project showed that there are a myriad of states that are engaged in various State as Model Employer (SAME) activities and that these activities are unique to the state’s environment and culture. Most have developed without the benefit of a collective learning environment or knowledge exchange. During the course of the research, a handful of state officials expressed interest in being connected with other state officials to learn more about their experiences with planning and implementing SAME activities. The center worked with EARN to explore whether there are state policymakers and practitioners who shared a common interest in developing or enhancing SAME activities in their state, whether state officials are interested in participating in a more formal “shared practice” activity, what model or form a shared practice would take, and what activities are of the most interest to state officials (e.g., problem solving, sharing information and experiences, brokering activity specific linkages or visits, etc.) in the short term and long term.