State Employment Leadership Network

State Employment Leadership Network (SELN)

A partnership since 2006

The State Employment Leadership Network (SELN) is a partnership of the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) and the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston (ICI). The SELN was launched in 2006 to provide technical assistance and guidance to state I/DD agencies to develop more effective employment systems and partnerships. Although research has demonstrated the positive economic and social value of competitive integrated employment, change has been slow. The network is a place where states can connect, collaborate, problem solve, and share resources that address the pressing employment-related issues that states face.

Membership is open to state I/DD agencies by entering into an annual agreement with NASDDDS.

The goal of the SELN is to assist member states in increasing the number of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities working in the general labor force by assisting states to:

  • Develop more effective employment systems and partnerships;
  • Use data to guide program management at the local and state level;
  • Improve employment-related staff competencies;
  • Maximize resources, such as funding for employment services; and,
  • Share resources for systems change across states.

As states consider priorities to move employment forward, SELN research suggests that many factors need to be looked at across a state’s landscape. Those factors detailed in the graphic above, when working together, can lead to better employment outcomes. It is the interplay of all the elements that can lead to strong foundations that sustain and support long-term systems change.

Why Employment Matters!

People with disabilities have the right to the same work opportunities as other members of their communities; work that takes into account both their passions and skills and brings meaning, purpose, and fulfillment to their lives. They want to pursue their own unique career path, earn an income, meet new people, and build a nest egg to support them in retirement. Research has shown that work has a direct link with a person’s happiness.

The SELN Process

New member states engage in a self-assessment process, supplemental feedback survey to stakeholders, and consultation with the SELN Project Team. The SELN project team produces a report that assists states in establishing employment priorities that guide the state to develop a specific employment improvement plan. Existing members are provided technical assistance, training, targeted materials on pressing topics relative to the state’s needs, and progress reports through the SELN’s annual accomplishments report. Through monthly SELN network meetings, states engage in peer-to-peer learning opportunities on cross cutting issues such as employment services, provider transformation, establishing employment policies, and collecting, analyzing, and using employment data to assist in decision making.

SELN Materials

How States Participate

Join the SELN in furthering employment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For more information contact Wesley Anderson, Director of Employment & Community Services at NASDDDS at