State Employment Leadership Network

State Employment Leadership Network

About SELN

The SELN is about transformation.

Members commit to transforming their system so people get jobs!

Decades of research have demonstrated the economic and social value of integrated employment, but change has been slow. Being employed on a full or part-time basis not only enhances an individual's sense of self-worth and contributes to his or her economic well-being, but also frequently reduces, sometimes dramatically, service costs, and establishes essential community connections that allows the individual to function as a contributing, valued member of the community.

Although the positive outcomes of integrated employment are clear, the movement away from traditional segregated day program services has been slow in many states. Longitudinal data collected by the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts/Boston (ICI/UMass) show that the percentage of state DD agency clients employed in integrated work settings has virtually stagnated in recent years (24% of the aggregate number of daytime service recipients in 1993 vs. 28% in 2001). The ICI trends data also documents the wide variations in employment rates that exist among individuals served by state DD agencies.

For example, in 2001, the percentage of daytime service recipients employed in integrated work settings ranged from less than ten percent in five states to over forty-five percent in five other states.

These data, in combination with the findings of in-depth studies conducted by the Institute's staff over the past few years in attempts to identify critical factors that contribute to successful statewide employment initiatives within state DD service systems, clearly suggest there is significant potential to expand access to integrated, community employment in states.

Given the lack of progress over the past several years, however, it also seems clear that this objective will not be accomplished without concerted, coordinated initiatives at the state and local levels over a multi-year period.

In an effort to assist states that are interested in mounting a concerted, coordinated employment supports initiative, the State Employment Leadership Network (SELN) was launched. Each member state has committed to addressing the challenges in their systems and sharing resources across states to benefit individuals everywhere.

SELN brings states together to improve employment outcomes for individuals with developmental disabilities.

What is the SELN?

The SELN is a cross-state cooperative venture of state intellectual and developmental disability (I/DD) agencies that are committed to improving employment outcomes for adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities.

The Network is a place to connect, collaborate, and create cross-community support for the pressing employment-related issues we face in the state systems and at the federal level.

Network membership promotes new connections within and across states to establish effective collaborative relationships among states, learn from their experiences of other service systems, share costs, use data and maximize resources.

Mission of SELN

The SELN is working to:

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

The Network promotes new connections with each state so state ID/DD agencies can take better advantage of other resources and partner with sister service systems, sharing costs and maximizing resources.

When it started and partner organizations (NASDDDS and ICI)

The SELN was launched in 2006 as a joint program of the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) and the Institute for Community Inclusion (IC) at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Member States

map of SELN member states


© 2016, University of Massachusetts Boston.
SELN is a joint program of the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services and the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston.