About

About CSG

Founded in 1933, The Council of State Governments is our nation’s only organization serving all three branches of state government. CSG is a region-based forum that fosters the exchange of insights and ideas to help state officials shape public policy. This offers unparalleled regional, national and international opportunities to network, develop leaders, collaborate and create problem-solving partnerships.

About The CSG Center of Innovation

The CSG Center of Innovation is a national initiative launched in July 2018 to enhance CSG’s efforts to engage, inform and empower state officials through externally funded initiatives. The center leverages CSG’s considerable convening power and its demonstrated success in providing outreach and technical assistance to the states to acquire external funding for projects focused on CSG member priorities. The CSG Center of Innovation provides a convenient and effective platform to collaborate with these valued partners and leverage those partnerships to secure funding for joint initiatives. Rather than a think tank, the CSG Center of Innovation is a practical resource for state officials in all three branches of government. We offer:

  • Objective, In-Depth Analysis of data and policy best practices to facilitate a better understanding of existing and developing issues and assess available and potential solutions.
  • Connections among policy leaders, federal and non-profit partners, and subject-matter experts to exchange insights and build partnerships.
  • Technical and Consulting Assistance to enable policy leaders to develop and implement forward-thinking solutions adapted to state and regional conditions and ambitions to improve the lives of people and the strength of communities and states.
  • An Inclusive Policy Portfolio that supports diverse populations and policy concerns.

About SEED

The State Exchange on Employment & Disability (SEED) is a unique state-federal initiative that promotes the adoption of disability-inclusive state policy through an innovative partnership model. This formal collaboration, launched by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), helps state and local governments develop and implement meaningful policies and practices that lead to increased employment opportunities for people with disabilities, and a stronger, more inclusive workforce and economy.  As part of the SEED team, CSG works with ODEP, Concepts, Inc., and other partner organizations, such as the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), and Women in Government (WIG), among others, to reduce barriers to employment for people with disabilities.

The SEED initiative conducts research on policies and programs that can improve employment for individuals with disabilities, provides states with customized technical assistance and policy development, and identifies new and innovative programs and policies through convenings of policymakers, subject matter experts, practitioners, and community and business leaders. Since its inception in 2015, SEED has engaged state legislators, governors’ offices and agency leadership from 46 states and DC to enact more than 90 new laws, develop and mobilize more than 250 state legislative and executive-level disability champions, and sign six executive orders, including the establishment of a cabinet-level statewide task force. You can learn more about SEED on the Office of Disability Employment Policy State Policy website.

Disability Employment Policy at CSG

The CSG disability employment policy team works with state policy makers, federal agencies, individuals with disabilities, leading non-profits think tanks, and research institutions to identify policies and practices that can improve the quality and quantity of employment and training opportunities for individuals with disabilities. In this effort, CSG provides policymakers with customized research and policy analysistraining, facilitation, and hands-on implementation and technical assistance on topics that can reduce barriers to employment and help states create more inclusive work forces. Examples of our key partner institutions include the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy, Cornell University, the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and the  National Conference of State Legislatures among others. 

Disability employment policy projects at CSG include:

CSG TEAM

Photo of Elizabeth WhitehouseElizabeth Whitehouse

Elizabeth Whitehouse is the Chief Public Policy Officer at The Council of State Governments. Her work was instrumental in the Work Matters Task Force and has assisted legislators and governors with policy on workforce issues. Previously, she served as the Director of Education and Workforce Development at CSG. Prior to CSG she served in a number of roles within the Kentucky State Government, including the KY Department of Charitable Gaming, the Education and Workforce Cabinet, and the Office of the Governor.

ewhitehouse@csg.org

A picture of Dina Klimkina

Dina Klimkina

Dina Klimkina is the Program Director of the Education and Workforce Team at Center of Innovation at The Council of State Governments. Dina manages CSG’s programming with the State Exchange on Employment and Disability, The Center for Advancing Policy on Employment for Youth (CAPE Youth),  KY’s Retaining Employment and Talent After Injury/Illness Network (RETAIN), the CSG East Education and Workforce Committee, and a variety of other projects.  She also performs research and policy analysis, develops reports and presentations, and conducts outreach and engagement with stakeholders as needed. Prior to CSG, she worked at the University of Kentucky, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the One Earth Future Foundation,  and the United Nations, among other organizations. She earned her M.A. from the University of Denver and her B.A. from Centre College. 

dklimkina@csg.org

A picture of Sydney Geiger

Sydney Blodgett

Sydney is a Program Manager at The Council of State Governments focusing on barriers to employment for people with disabilities. Sydney has experience in engaging state leaders to discuss policy issues and solutions in a bipartisan and innovative way. Throughout her career, she has researched and analyzed state level polices in a variety of policy areas. Sydney disseminates her research through blogs, articles, and online platforms. Prior to CSG, Sydney worked for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  She earned a B.A. from the University of Louisville and an M.P.A from the University of Kentucky.

sblodgett@csg.org

A photo of Elise Gurney

Elise Gurney 

Elise is a Senior Policy Analyst at The Council of State Governments. She conducts research and creates content to assist state policymakers in the development and implementation of policies and programs that improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities. Prior to joining CSG, Elise spent six years conducting and overseeing qualitative and quantitative research projects for various clients in Washington, DC. This included four years studying the needs and challenges of state and federal policymakers. Elise earned a B.A. in Economics from Carleton College. 

egurney@csg.org  

Abeer Sikder

Abeer Sikder

Abeer Sikder is a Policy Analyst at The Council of State Governments. He conducts research and analysis to support education and workforce development opportunities for youth and young adults. He also coordinates with local, state, and federal policymakers to develop innovative solutions for disability inclusion and successful employment outcomes. Prior to joining CSG, Abeer worked and interned for various organizations, including the Brady Campaign, the Center for Auto Safety, D.C. Homeland Security, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, the Kentucky World Trade Center, and the ACLU. He also served in Teach For America as a middle and high school math teacher for three years in Memphis, Tennessee.

Abeer earned a J.D. from The George Washington University Law School in and a B.A. in Economics (with minors in Political Science and Finance) from the University of Louisville.

asikder@csg.org

Rachel Wright

Rachel is a Policy Analyst at The Council of State Governments. Rachel conducts research on a variety of state-level policies, tracks and analyzes legislative trends, and develops programming for CSG members. Prior to joining CSG, Rachel worked at the University of Kentucky and held positions focused on human rights advocacy, both in the U.S. and abroad. Rachel earned a B.A. in Political Science and a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Kentucky.

rachel.wright@csg.org