NGA Chair Hosts Pittsburgh Institute on Employing People with Disabilities

WASHINGTON—As part of Delaware Gov. Jack Markell’s National Governors Association (NGA) Chair’s Initiative, A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities, the governor and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett are co-hosting an institute for state policymakers today and tomorrow. The institute will focus on the employment challenges that affect individuals with intellectual and other significant disabilities. It also will examine the role that both state government and business can play in facilitating and advancing opportunities for individuals with disabilities to be gainfully employed in the competitive labor market.

“This institute is designed to allow states the opportunity to discuss best practices for public and private employment of individuals with disabilities,” said Gov. Markell. “Every governor wants to be the ‘jobs’ governor. We need to be the jobs governor for all people in our states.”

The yearlong initiative has been providing governors and other state policymakers with better policy options to assess the environment in their state and strategies designed to support this population. In the fall, Gov. Markell was joined by South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard for a roundtable discussion with experts from government, academia and businesses to frame the issues around employment for individuals with  disabilities. During NGA’s Winter Meeting, sessions focused on the initiative and governors heard from members of the business and disability community.

“I’m honored to co-host this important forum with Gov. Markell,” said Gov. Corbett. “Providing individuals with disabilities with the avenues and support necessary to transition into the workforce is something that should be top of mind for every business and every policymaker.”

Following morning discussions about best practices in states, attendees will discuss employing people with disabilities as a state workforce strategy with ResCare CEO Ralph Gronefeld. Meeting attendees will listen to a keynote address from Randy Lewis, Former CEO and Senior Vice President of Supply Chain and Logistics at Walgreens, before heading to Highmark for a panel about lessons learned from businesses. The panel will include: Executive Director Mark Feinour, Bank of America Support Services; Head, O&I, Global Application and Infrastructure Gary M. Dick, Bayer MaterialScience, LLC; Founder and CEO Joyce Bender, Bender Consulting; Executive Vice President and CIO Matthew Ray, Highmark; and Division President, Health Services and Executive Vice President Deb Rice-Johnson, Highmark.

Gov. Markell will host a similar institute in Seattle with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee later this month.

Photos can be viewed on Flickr.


Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association (NGA) is the collective voice of the nation’s governors and one of Washington, D.C.’s most respected public policy organizations. Its members are the governors of the 55 states, territories and commonwealths. NGA provides governors and their senior staff members with services that range from representing states on Capitol Hill and before the Administration on key federal issues to developing and implementing innovative solutions to public policy challenges through the NGA Center for Best Practices. For more information, visit