Disability Mentoring: Benefits for Youth with Intersecting Identities

By: Luke Byram

January is National Mentoring Month. While mentoring relationships benefit all youth, they may have a particularly positive impact on youth who face barriers to education and employment—such as youth with disabilities and especially those who may have intersecting identities.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), disability mentoring occurs when a person with a disability provides advice and support to another person, usually someone with a similar disability. Mentoring can be short-term in nature, such as a single-day job shadowing opportunity or career exploration experience, which could occur on National Job Shadow Day on February 2, 2023 or on National Mentoring Day on October 27, 2023. Mentoring could also reflect a more robust ongoing relationship between a mentor and youth with regularly scheduled meetings focused on supporting the youth in planning and achieving their goals. The relationship often focuses on a specific task, such as living independently, recovering from a traumatic event, obtaining employment or transitioning into the workforce. The mentor serves as a role model and provides information and guidance specific to the mentee’s experiences and identified needs.

Research clearly indicates the success of disability mentoring. Mentoring promotes career exploration and helps youth and young adults with disabilities make more informed choices about their academic and employment goals. The National Mentoring Resource Center reviewed 40 studies on mentoring for youth with disabilities and found that having a mentor with the same disability is associated with better employment and career development outcomes, including a stronger academic trajectory, smoother transitions, more well-developed life skills and higher quality of life.

These findings reinforce the benefits of mentoring overall. According to Mentor, mentoring programs help middle and high school students develop essential cognitive and social-emotional skills for school and workplace success. Guider reports similar long-term benefits for marginalized populations, including increased self-esteem and confidence in their ability to achieve goals.

Youth and young adults who have intersecting identities—such as youth of color with disabilities—are particularly vulnerable to discrimination and other barriers and may need tailored mentoring to fit their unique needs. Bernadette Sánchez of DePaul University states that there is a strong need for mentoring youth of color (Black youth in particular) to help them achieve positive academic, social and employment outcomes in the long term.

Hamza Jaka is a person of color and disabled attorney who has experience with these positive benefits from both sides, having been mentored and served as a mentor himself. Recently, CAPE-Youth had the opportunity to speak with him about his mentoring experiences.

Question: In what ways did you benefit by having a mentor?

Jaka: My mentors have always helped me think about my life and what I want, helped me plan out my career and my future and provided a comforting, but firm presence in my life.

Question: What tips, suggestions, recommendations or advice do you have for those considering whether to be mentored?

Jaka: Find a mentor who fits your life. Don’t just take people’s suggestions, and certainly take a mentor’s advice with a grain of salt. It is your life – you need to find someone who fits. Mentors should have hard conversations if you want to have them, but they should not make you feel awful.

Question: In what ways did you benefit by being a mentor yourself?

Jaka: I learned just how much I have grown and the importance of being a presence in someone’s life, without overstating my own experiences.

Question: What tips, suggestions, recommendations or advice do you have for mentors of other youth and young adults with disabilities?

Jaka: Be kind, don’t project [your experiences onto them] and remember your mentee is different from you and doesn’t always need to take your advice. Respect their time as well. Your mentees are awesome people and deserve that respect.

Question: What did you learn through your mentorship relationships?

Jaka: How to keep my promises and share my experiences without living vicariously through other people. Too often mentors bring their own lived experiences into a mentee’s life rather than listening to the mentee.

Question: What challenges did you experience in the mentoring relationship?

Jaka: Finding time to connect! I also would have loved to meet in-person.

Question: What can state policy leaders do to advance disability mentoring for youth and young adults with disabilities at the state level?

Jaka: Fund evidenced-based mentoring programs, make connections between disabled constituents and come to disability events. Also, make it a priority to listen to organizations run by disabled people, especially disabled people of color.

CAPE-Youth offers a number of resources to help state policymakers explore ways to implement programs and services—including mentoring initiatives—that meet the needs of youth and young adults with intersecting identities. Further information about Mentoring Month, including outreach tools and tips, is available at MENTOR

Colorado Shifts to Skills-Based Hiring to Fill State Government Workforce Needs and Hire More Individuals with Disabilities

By Elise Gurney, Project Manager

State governments are facing unprecedented workforce shortages. Since 2010 there has been a steady increase in the rate of people leaving state and local government, which accelerated to a high of 11.7% amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As of March 2022 there were 695,000 fewer people employed in state and local government jobs than before the pandemic. One strategy states have used to meet their workforce needs is skills-based hiring, where states screen candidates based on their skills, capabilities, and talents, rather than their educational background. This practice allows states to access a larger, more diverse pool of candidates, including individuals with disabilities.

Colorado has adopted particularly wide-reaching skills-based hiring initiatives through Executive Order 2022-15, signed by Gov. Jared Polis on April 14, 2022. The Executive Order instructs the Colorado state government to transition to skills-based hiring to meet the state’s workforce needs and “build a more diverse workforce by promoting the hiring of individuals from varied backgrounds and work experiences.” While the Executive Order does not explicitly mention individuals with disabilities, Lynne Steketee, Colorado’s Statewide Chief Human Resources Officer and Director of the Division of Human Resources explains that “skills-based hiring opens the door for so many qualified candidates who may not have [had] the opportunity before, including those with disabilities.”

Role of Skills-Based Hiring in Increasing Employment of Individuals with Disabilities

Under skills-based hiring, hiring managers focus on “what candidates know how to do, not where they learned it.” This involves writing job descriptions that indicate the specific skills required for a job, with the recognition that these skills may have been developed through education, training, or past experiences (e.g., community college, military service, running a household). Skills-based hiring can also entail using professionally-developed competency-based assessments to evaluate a candidate’s skills.

Skills-based hiring can help state agencies increase employment of people with disabilities because it:

Eliminates educational requirements. Individuals with disabilities are less likely to have completed a bachelor’s degree than people with no disability. By replacing educational requirements with skills requirements, state agencies remove a key barrier to entry into the state government workforce for individuals with disabilities.

Provides clarity to job seekers. By providing detailed information on required job skills, skills-based hiring removes ambiguity for a job seeker who may wonder whether they are qualified. This clarity can especially benefit literal thinkers, including individuals who are neurodivergent.

Reduces bias in the hiring process. By clearly outlining essential job qualifications and relying on competency-based assessments, skills-based hiring helps hiring managers choose candidates based on their relevant skills alone. This can reduce potential discrimination and bias in the hiring process.

Colorado’s Skills-Based Hiring Initiatives

Colorado’s Executive Order 2022-15 directs Colorado’s Division of Human Resources to develop statewide guidance and strategies for skills-based hiring through four activities:

Providing training and resources on skills-based hiring practices for human resources professionals to incorporate into selection processes.

Providing a skills-based selection plan template for agencies and using the plan in 25% of posted state vacancies by December 2022.

Partnering with the Department of Labor and Employment to integrate work-based learning models, such as apprenticeship, into skills-based hiring templates and training.

Establishing a data-driven approach to monitor, measure, and evaluate program efficacy.

The Executive Order further directs all state agencies and departments to:

Champion skill-based hiring and identify all positions in eligible for a skills-based approach.

Ensure all job postings include skills requirements as a substitute for educational requirements – except for highly specialized and professional positions – and develop processes to actively monitor compliance.

Initiate skills-based hiring discussions with agency leadership, hiring managers, and human resource teams.

Initiate training for hiring managers to implement skills-based hiring.

In addition, the Governor’s budget allocates $700,000 for staffing and related costs to support the transition to skills-based hiring. Through these funds, term-limited staff will train hiring managers, identify and update rules and regulations to facilitate skills-based hiring, and develop a skills-based hiring toolkit for state departments to use.

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment reports that many state agencies had already been utilizing skills-based hiring approaches before the Executive Order. According to the Department’s Executive Director Joe Barela, “We’ve seen firsthand…how skills-based hiring practices can improve our talent pool…For example, in 2020 we hired an Audit Manager who doesn’t have a college degree but rose to the top of the candidate pool based on their progressively related experience in county government…[skills-based hiring] is a step in the right direction for all state employees.”

Considerations for States

Skills-based hiring is a key strategy state governments have used to fill their workforce needs. In addition to broadening the diversity of the candidate pool and accessing more job seekers with disabilities, skills-based hiring can allow states to better select candidates who have the specific, relevant skills to excel in a role. The practice further provides states the flexibility to adapt to changes in technology and the future of work, and allows them to more easily adopt work-based learning models like apprenticeship.

Several other states have engaged in efforts to expand skills-based hiring. While not all of these efforts focus on the public sector specifically, state agencies can take advantage of these resources.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey launched the Alabama Skills-Based Job Description Generator and Employer Portal in 2022, which enables employers to create customized, skills-based job descriptions and advances the state’s efforts to develop a “skills-based, learner-centered, and employer-driven talent development system.”

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry has a webpage devoted to skills-based practices resources, which includes links to a skills-based hiring toolkit and a skills-based job posting generator.

Oklahoma Works assists employers with implementing skills-based hiring practices in order to “focus on the skills needed to perform job duties” and “expand the number of qualified applicants.”

Utah HB 139 (2021) requires the Department of Human Resource Management to “create supporting materials that may be used by a political subdivision that chooses to implement competency-based hiring principles.”

Long-Term Care Policy Guide for State Policymakers

By Sean Slone

States have begun exploring a variety of strategies and policies that seem likely to transform long-term care in the years ahead. The Council of State Governments has learned from states’ success and compiled a “Long-Term Care Policy Guide” as a resource for state policymakers.

The “Long-Term Care Policy Guide” is the result of a nine-month partnership between CSG and the Commonwealth Fund, a national, private foundation based in New York City that supports independent research on health care issues and makes grants to improve health care practice and policy.

The partnership involved the formation of an interbranch task force made up of state policymakers from eight states (Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia). At least one state legislator and executive branch official representing an agency affiliated with long-term care from each state participated on the task force. Throughout the task force’s eight virtual meetings in 2022, as well as one state-curated conversation for each participating state, its members, subject matter experts and stakeholders examined three focus areas in long-term care that are highlighted in this guide. These focus areas include:

  • Addressing State Regulation of Long-Term Services and Supports Facilities

Long-term services and supports facilities including nursing homes and other places that care for older Americans and people with disabilities in congregate care settings experienced significant challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to high concentrations of fatalities during the pandemic’s early days, many saw an epidemic of neglect, social isolation and loneliness among residents due to staffing challenges and restricted visitation policies.

  • Optimizing American Rescue Plan Act Spending on Home- and Community-Based Services Under Medicaid

A two-decade shift toward serving more people in home- and community-based settings was given a significant boost by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which provided states an increase in the federal government’s share of total Medicaid costs. As a result, states are now deploying $12.7 billion to expand eligibility and increase access to these services.

  • Revitalizing the Direct Care Workforce and Supporting Family Caregivers

The shift toward serving more people in the aforementioned settings comes just as states are also facing an unprecedented employment crisis in the direct care workforce — the group that cares for residents across a variety of long-term care settings. There are also concerns about the burden shouldered by often-unpaid caregivers in the home who are caring for a family member or loved one.

Numerous enacted state strategies are explored throughout each focus area in the guide. In addition, the three following state initiatives are highlighted as extended case studies:

  • Illinois’ 2022 legislation to overhaul how the state assesses and reimburses nursing facilities and link future funding to staffing levels and quality of care.
  • Minnesota’s American Rescue Plan Act spending plan for home- and community-based services, which spreads $680 million across more than 50 initiatives.
  • New York’s increase to the hourly minimum wage for home health care workers.

The long-term care policy guide can serve as a roadmap of potential opportunities for state policymakers. Some opportunities may require additional discussion and further assessment on a state-by-state basis in the years ahead, especially as the lessons of the pandemic and policy goals for the future of long-term care come more sharply into focus.

CAPE-Youth Launches Long COVID Web Page

By Katherine Emerson

Current estimates show that 7.7 to 23 million people in the U.S. have experienced Long COVID or its associated conditions. The CDC defines Long COVID as anyone experiencing ongoing, long-term conditions as a result of having been infected with the COVID-19 virus. Long COVID symptoms can last weeks, months or even years. Furthermore, the symptoms of Long COVID can qualify someone as an individual with a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if these symptoms substantially limit one or more major life activities, including employment and education. Youth and young adults with a Long COVID disability may need assistance understanding their disability, understanding their employment and education rights, and navigating systems of support.  

As part of our database of State Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Center for Advancing Policy on Employment for Youth (CAPE-Youth) is pleased to launch our Long COVID resource page. States have taken a variety of approaches to support youth experiencing a Long COVID disability (as either their first identified disability or in addition to an existing disability). The resource page supports CAPE-Youth’s overall mission to provide state policymakers with policy options, best practices, and implementation strategies to improve employment outcomes for youth and young adults with disabilities (Y&YADs).  

 The Long COVID resource page offers: 

general information about Long COVID; 

information about Long COVID as a disability;  

potential accommodations for Y&YADs with Long COVID; 

ways to help Y&YADs manage Long COVID; 

state efforts to support Y&YADs with Long COVID; and 

nationally recognized Long COVID resources addressing accessibility, the workplace, and other services and supports.  

As states strive to promote workforce inclusion, the over three million young people between the ages of 16 to 24 with disabilities are a key part of the solution. Y&YADs face barriers in transitioning successfully from youth systems into adulthood. These barriers result in lower employment outcomes, educational attainment, and community participation than their peers. The Long COVID resource page discusses how Y&YADs might address those barriers, such as understanding and managing their disability in an educational and workplace setting, their rights and protections in those settings, and accessing appropriate supports.  

This web page also assists state leaders by highlighting how states have: 

educated the public about symptoms, causes, and treatment of Long COVID; 

provided support programs and mental health resources to help individuals; 

recognized Long COVID as a potential source of disability under the ADA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act; and 

funded Long COVID support services. 

The complete list of information and resources also can be sorted by state and by topic. 

Workforce inclusion is a priority for state leaders nationwide. Supporting Y&YADs as they prepare to enter the workforce advances state economies and individuals’ quality of life. To learn more about CAPE-Youth and our publications, visit capeyouth.org

Ohio Expands Recovery and Employment Services for Justice-Involved Individuals with Substance Use Disorders 

By Andrew Johnson, Policy Analyst 

Substance use disorders (SUDs) are on the rise. SUD is considered a mental health disorder, and when it substantially limits one or more major life activities – such as employment – it can be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act when an individual is receiving recovery treatment. Individuals with SUD may need supports recovering from SUD and attaining employment. 

Research shows that SUDs are particularly common among incarcerated individuals; an estimated 65% of the United States prison population has an active SUD. Furthermore, studies indicate that disability prevalence may be higher among the prison population, with more than 40% of incarcerated individuals reporting a nonpsychiatric disability. Incarcerated individuals may have even more difficulty accessing treatment for SUD, and those incarcerated for drug offenses are likely to be rearrested within three years. Even though employment is critical to helping formerly incarcerated individuals re-enter their community, they may face additional barriers to employment due to their criminal records. 

States are, therefore, working to support the recovery and workforce needs of incarcerated individuals with a SUD, and to ensure equal opportunity in employment. Ohio is one state that has prioritized this issue by taking executive and legislative action as well as leveraging and coordinating existing resources, including disability services and supports. 

Coordinating State Agencies through RecoveryOhio 

Governor Mike DeWine made SUD recovery support one of his top policy objectives and commissioned the RecoveryOhio initiative through Executive Order 2019-01D. The initiative coordinates the work of state agencies and builds on the state’s existing resources to support recovery needs throughout the state, including employment supports for justice-involved individuals. By ensuring employment, the individual is better positioned to obtain stable housing, gain a sense of purpose, and successfully complete their specialized court program. 

Providing Employment Supports through OOD Jobs for Recovery 

One key agency contributing to this work is Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD). OOD works with state and local organizations to support Ohioans with disabilities, including those with substance use disorders, in preparing for and securing employment. 

As part of the RecoveryOhio initiative, OOD launched the OOD Jobs for Recovery program. This program provides employment supports for individuals with SUD facing charges in the state’s drug court. OOD Jobs for Recovery partners with state agencies, such as the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Office of Workforce Transformation, to address the needs of justice-involved individuals placed on specialized dockets. Through Jobs for Recovery, OOD places a vocational rehabilitation counselor on a drug court interdisciplinary team to provide employment services and assist in supporting an individual in carrying out their recovery plan. 

OOD Jobs for Recovery vocational rehabilitation counselors assist individuals with exploring their strengths, abilities and interests to promote informed choice in identifying their employment goals. Services may include

Career exploration and guidance  


Resume and interview preparation 

Work incentives planning 

Job development and placement  

Assistance addressing additional employment barriers 

Providing Recovery Services and Removing Barriers to Employment 

For justice-involved individuals with SUD, recovery is the first step to employment. The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services has partnered with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to address the recovery needs of justice-involved individuals with substance use disorders. Partners provide recovery services to incarcerated individuals needing substance abuse recovery programming. Through an evidence-based holistic approach to alcohol and other drug treatment, program participants gain an improved sense of responsibility and the ability to reenter the community and workforce. Correctional recovery services are funded through the state budget.  

In addition, the Ohio legislature enacted Ohio House Bill 1 in 2021, providing additional support to state agencies seeking to provide substance abuse recovery services and employment services to justice-involved individuals. House Bill 1 modifies existing “intervention in lieu of conviction” policies by broadening the scope of recovery options. 

The bill further addresses additional barriers to employment that justice-involved individuals with SUD may face by expanding record sealing opportunities and opportunities for charge dismissal for those who complete their recovery plan. By dismissing charges and sealing records, justice involved individuals recovering from SUDs are better positioned to obtain sustainable employment.  

Considerations for States 

SUD is one aspect of mental health that states are actively addressing, particularly for individuals involved in the justice system. State officials in Ohio are leveraging available resources and establishing partnerships to address the recovery and workforce needs of justice-involved individuals with SUD. The state has also enhanced the flexibility of the judicial system to provide recovery programming to these individuals, rather than prison time, and provides vocational counseling services and job support planning to help individuals with SUD find employment. 

Various other states are also implementing policies to support recovery and employment for justice-involved individuals: 

Illinois established drug courts to provide treatment options and alternatives to incarceration. 

Maine requires a comprehensive substance use disorder treatment program (including for alcohol) in all correctional facilities. The program provides screening, assessment, and treatment for justice-involved individuals, and requires ongoing training of staff and coordination with community organizations. 

Mississippi established a pilot program at a regional facility to provide SUD treatment in an effort to reduce drug use and criminal activity and assist individuals in their transitions back into the community. 

New York provides substance abuse treatment, including medication assisted treatment, to individuals residing in correctional facilities. 

Washington expanded a pilot program to create a drug-free correctional system and provides substance use treatment to individuals found to be in possession of drugs. 

Ballot Measures Impacting State Legislative and Executive Power

By Valerie Newberg

Please note that this article is based on projected results and may change with certified election results.

Changes to legislative and executive power in the states were on the ballot this November. In this year’s state elections, voters considered issues like the power to convene a special legislative session, the state legislative veto and the creation of new executive offices. This article analyzes the results of these ballot measures in Arkansas, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas and Kentucky.

Arkansas, Idaho and Kentucky considered options for calling a special legislative session.

Kentucky voters decided against a constitutional amendment addressing legislative power with 54% of voters selecting “no”[1]. Constitutional Amendment 1 would have allowed the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House to convene the legislature by a Joint Proclamation for up to 12 days a year and allowed each chamber to extend the end date for the legislative session by a three-fifths vote.[2] With the failure of this measure, only the Governor can call a special legislative session in Kentucky.

In Arkansas, 61% of voters rejected a similar ballot measure for Issue 1.[3] This amendment would have allowed either a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers or a joint proclamation by House and Senate leadership to convene a special session. Currently, only the Governor of Arkansas has that power.

Kentucky and Arkansas are two of 13 states that give the governor sole power over calling a legislative session. Illinois, Ohio and Delaware are the only three states that do not require a legislative vote or Governor’s authority to convene a special legislative session.[4]

With 52% of Idaho voters selecting “yes” on Constitutional Amendment SJR 102, the state now allows Senate and House leadership to convene a special legislative session if they receive a joint proclamation from three-fifths of lawmakers in each chamber.[5] Idaho joins 17 other states where a supermajority is required to convene a special legislative session.

Arizona voters decided to create the position of lieutenant governor.

Proposition 131 is a legislatively referred constitutional amendment that establishes the office of Lieutenant Governor who would run for election on a joint ticket with the gubernatorial candidate. Voters in Arizona supported this ballot measure with 55% voting “yes”. Before this ballot measure was passed, the Arizona constitution stipulated that if the office of the Governor becomes vacant, the Secretary of State should succeed, but the passage of this amendment transferred that power to the Lieutenant Governor.[6]

With this amendment, Arizona joins 45 states who have an elected lieutenant governor position.[7]

Kansas voters rejected the state legislative veto.

Kansas Constitutional Amendment 1, the Legislative Veto or Suspension of Executive Agency Regulations Amendment, was narrowly rejected by voters. Constitutional Amendment 1 authorized the legislature to veto or suspend rules or regulations adopted by executive agencies via a simple majority vote. With a close finish, 50.5% of voters selected to reject this amendment.

From 1939 through 1984, Kansas lawmakers could rewrite or veto any regulation adopted by an administrative agency. In 1984, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in Stephan v Kansas House of Representatives[8] that this legislative veto violated the constitutional commitment to separation of powers. Before the election, Kansas legislators could only revise or reject administrative procedures by passing a bill that the governor signs into law, but a joint committee could review regulations and make recommendations. Passage of Constitutional Amendment 1 would have expanded legislators’ power and limited the ability of state agencies to unilaterally implement rules that have the effect of law.

Since 1976, Idaho, Iowa and Nevada have passed ballot measures expanding the legislative veto.[9] If Constitutional Initiative 1 was passed, Kansas would have joined at least six others- Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, New Jersey and Nevada– in allowing legislators to veto executive actions.[10]

CSG will continue to provide initial results on key topics as well as more in-depth analysis in the days following the election. Find those articles on Twitter (@CSGovts) and at csg.org/state-talk.

[1] https://vrsws.sos.ky.gov/liveresults/

[2] https://apps.legislature.ky.gov/law/acts/21RS/documents/0027.pdf

[3] https://ballotpedia.org/Arkansas_Issue_1,_Legislative_Authority_to_Call_a_Special_Session_Amendment_(2022)

[4] https://ballotpedia.org/Kentucky_Constitutional_Amendment_1,_Changes_to_Legislative_Session_End_Dates_and_Special_Sessions_Measure_(2022)#Convening_special_state_legislative_sessions

[5] https://ballotpedia.org/Idaho_Constitutional_Amendment_SJR_102,_Legislative_Authority_to_Call_a_Special_Session_Amendment_(2022)

[6] https://azsos.gov/sites/default/files/for_scr1024_proposition_131_lieutenant_governor_joint_ticket.pdf

[7] https://ballotpedia.org/Arizona_Proposition_131,_Create_Office_of_Lieutenant_Governor_Amendment_(2022)

[8] https://law.justia.com/cases/kansas/supreme-court/1984/56-880-1.html

[9] Https://ballotpedia.org/Kansas_Constitutional_Amendment_1,_Legislative_Veto_or_Suspension_of_Executive_   Agency_Regulations_Amendment_(2022)

[10] https://apnews.com/article/2022-midterm-elections-health-legislature-state-governments-constitutions-60f6103f666d886be18917bdd32bba82

Women in State Government: Impact of the 2022 Election

By Rebecca Halpryn

Women Making History

Prior to the 2022 general election, only ten women across nine states and one territory held the gubernatorial position. Nine of these women ran as the incumbent candidates in the 2022 election – all nine gubernatorial incumbent women won (Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon did not run for reelection due to term limits). Four other states, Arkansas, Arizona, Massachusetts and Oregon, elected women governors, setting a record for the most women serving as governors concurrently. 

Nationally, prior to the 2022 midterm elections, 23 states had never elected a woman as governor, 16 of which held gubernatorial elections during the 2022 midterm elections. Women were on the ballot for the 2022 gubernatorial race in 12 of these 16 states, and nominated as either a Republican or Democratic candidate in six (Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York and Ohio). Women won the gubernatorial election in three states, Arkansas, Massachusetts and New York, bringing the number of states that have never elected a woman to the gubernatorial role down to 20.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) made history in 2022 as the first woman to be governor of Arkansas. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R) is the first woman elected as lieutenant governor in Arkansas. Massachusetts’ Attorney General Maura Healey (D) and Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) of New York made history as the first elected governors of their respective states (both states appointed women as governors previously). Arkansas and Massachusetts are the first states to have women serving concurrently in both the governor and lieutenant governor positions. Additionally, both Healey of Massachusetts and Tina Kotek (D) of Oregon made national history simultaneously as the first openly lesbian candidates to be elected governors in the US.

Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands also held gubernatorial elections in 2022. The Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands have never elected a woman to the gubernatorial position. Christina Sablan made history as the first woman in the Northern Mariana Islands to be nominated by a major party for the gubernatorial role. In Guam, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero made history in 2018 as the first woman elected to governor. Guerrero won reelection in 2022.

Results as of 11/15/22

Election Results So far

As of Nov. 15, 2022, Ballotpedia has projected winners for 92.1% of the 6,514 state-level races in the 2022 general election. Data from Ballotpedia shows that 35.5% of state-level race candidates are women. Of these women, 45.3% were incumbents, 7.1% ran for positions in the executive branch, 5.0% ran for positions in the judicial branch and 88.0% ran for positions in the legislative branch. In just under half (48.6%) of the state level races, at least one candidate identified as a woman. Overall, women won 34.1% of all projected state level races and won 71.5% of all projected state level races with at least one woman on the ballot. 46.1% of women incumbent candidates won reelection.

(NOTE: gender information for 12.9% of state level candidates was unavailable. Gender information for all candidates within a race was unavailable for 1.7% of all state races. These candidates and races were excluded from all analyses).

Gubernatorial elections took place in 36 states and three territories in 2022. Women won 12 states and one territory out of the 29 gubernatorial races with a woman candidate on the ballot (27 states and two territories) and accounted for 31.8% of the gubernatorial candidates on the ballot. The number of states and territories with a female governor increased from 10 to 13.

Of the 4,464 lower legislature races across 49 states and three territories, just under half (47.9%) had at least one woman candidate on the ballot.

35.2% of these candidates were women of which 46.9% were incumbents.

Women won 72.6% of the 1,938 projected lower legislature races with a woman candidate and 33.9% of all projected lower legislature races.

96.9% of women incumbents in projected races won.

In the upper legislature, nearly half (48.0%) of the 1,278 races across 46 states and two territories, had at least one woman running on the ballot, and women made up 34.2% of the candidates. Of these women, 40.4% were the incumbent candidate.

Women won 69.2% of the 1,193 projected state senate races with a woman candidate and 32.4% of all projected upper legislature races.

96.3% of women incumbents in projected races were reelected.

What These Results Tell Us

Overall, data from projected races indicate that fewer women than men, about one-in-three candidates, appeared on the ballot in the 2022 general elections. Women won just over one-in-three races across all state level races. When looking just at the races that include at least one woman on the ballot, women perform better, winning about seven-in-ten races. Women perform particularly well in state judicial races and in the races in which they appear on the ballot, perform worst in state executive races.

Aligning Policy Goals: How States can Pair Continuing Education Requirements with Mentorship Programs

By Sandi Abdelshehed

The Economic and Workforce Health Subcommittee of the CSG Healthy States National Task Force recently explored ways to fill workforce gaps with paid pathways to employment, including ways state governments may expand apprenticeships.

In September 2022, the subcommittee issued a recommendation from these discussions that, “states should consider allowing mentorship to satisfy any continuing education requirements as an incentive for industry-based mentorship. Industry professionals could count activities such as mentoring a career aspirant or hosting a job shadowing session.”

Apprenticeships are a work-based learning model that provide participants with opportunities to connect classroom instruction to work activities. Career mentorship is a key piece of the apprenticeship experience. Knowledgeable mentors are often able to translate written instruction into the mechanics of the job, they are also beneficial to the entity offering these programs since the retention rate for mentees is significantly higher than those not mentored, and turnover rates are lowered as a result.

Employees can also view mentorship programs as informal leadership training that also improves the mentor’s understanding of their field by teaching apprentices and other aspiring workers. To recruit capable mentors for apprenticeship programs, states may consider the recognition of mentorship as professional development, counting toward continuing education requirements (if required).

Continuing education requirements are set by states to ensure licensees maintain competencies and stay current with legal and professional standards in their respective fields. There is the potential to pair these requirements to achieve dual policy goals, which is why some states have implemented exemptions to continuing education requirements in other instances. State leaders, in partnership with private sector employers, credentialing organizations and other stakeholders, could incentivize mentors by allowing mentorship to count toward a licensee’s continuing education requirements. If licensees are allowed to use mentorship programs to fulfill their requirements, they will have the opportunity to support the growth of their career field.

While a preliminary scan found no current state examples of this recommendation, some states offer flexibility to the established continuing education requirements to achieve other policy goals.

For example, New York requires licensed professional engineers to obtain 36 hours of continuing education. Licensees directly employed on a complete full-time basis by the state of New York are exempt from this continuing education requirement. Another example of states implementing exemptions comes from Maine; the state requires public accountant and certified public accountant license applicants to complete a minimum of 20 hours, but no more than 40 hours, of continuing professional education. Maine allows the fulfillment of other states’ continuing professional education requirements to attain Maine’s requirement for continued education requirement.

Incumbency Performance in State Elections

By Ben Reynolds

In elections, incumbents typically hold an electoral advantage. Attempts to defeat an incumbent, or flip a seat’s partisan control, can be difficult. Generally, incumbents have advantages in fundraising, name recognition and past policy work to name a few. In the 2022 general election, there were 6,728 state legislative seats, 307 state executive seats and 384 judicial court seats on the ballot. There were 5,095 incumbent candidates and 7,069 non-incumbent candidates running for election. Overall, the judicial branch had the highest percentage of incumbents running for election compared to the legislative and executive branches.

Table 1: Incumbent candidates by branch of state government

Office BranchPercentage of Candidates that were Incumbents

When comparing candidates by party, 49% of Republican candidates were incumbents and 45% of Democratic candidates were incumbents. Republican and Democratic incumbent candidates made up 33% of all total candidates running for office in the 2022 midterm elections.

Table 2: Percentage of Incumbents Running

Political PartyPercentage Incumbent
Other Parties>1%

17% (2,088) of state races were uncontested elections (elections in which candidates run unopposed). Republican candidates were more likely to run in uncontested elections (55%) while Democratic candidates were more likely to run in competitive races (66%). Of Democrats running unopposed, 87% were incumbents. In comparison, among Republicans running unopposed, 79% were incumbents.

The following analysis looks at competitive races, defined as races that have two or more candidates running for the same office. In this year’s election, 83% of races were competitive.

As of November 15, 2022, there were 4,302 winners of competitive races in this year’s election. Of those winners, 67% were incumbents. Among incumbents, only 4% lost a competitive race.

Breaking down incumbent performance by party shows that Republican incumbents performed slightly better than Democratic incumbents. Republican incumbents won 85% of their races compared to 83% of competitive races won by Democratic incumbents.  

Table 3: Incumbent and Non-Incumbent Performance in Competitive Races

Political PartyIncumbent WinIncumbent LostNon-Incumbent WinNon-Incumbent Lost
Democrat1,450 886231,734

Incumbents vs Non-Incumbents by Office Branch

Incumbent performance in competitive races was relatively similar among the three office branches.

Table 4: Incumbent Performance by Office Branch

Office BranchTotal Incumbents WonIncumbent Win PercentageTotal Races Won

Incumbents won the majority of executive races. Nearly all incumbent state governors won re-election. When breaking down incumbent performance by political party, Democratic and Republican incumbents won competitive executive races at similar rates, and nonpartisan incumbents won 9% of competitive executive races.

In the legislature, incumbents won 67% of races. Democratic incumbents won 43%, while Republican incumbents won 41% of competitive legislative races. Non-Republican and Democratic incumbents accounted for less than 1% of winners in competitive legislative races.

Incumbents won 65% of competitive judicial races. When you compare by political party, Democratic incumbents won 9%, Republican incumbents won 27% and nonpartisan incumbents won 27% of competitive judicial races. Many state’s judicial races are considered nonpartisan elections, so it is expected that nonpartisan incumbents performed better in this category.

In elections, incumbents typically hold an electoral advantage, and that stood true in this year’s general. Nearly all incumbent state governors won re-election. Currently, only Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak lost to challenger Joe Lombardo. Overall, judicial incumbents performed the best followed by legislative incumbents and finally executive incumbents.

Facilitating Veteran Employment: Strategies to Engage Veterans in Apprenticeships

By Rachel Wright and Mary Wurtz 

Each year, approximately 200,000 veterans transition to civilian life, but many struggle to find employment upon re-entry. Research shows that only a little more than half of U.S. veterans find a job within six months of the start of their search. Furthermore, those who do find employment are 37% more likely to experience underemployment than nonveterans.  

Efforts are being made at the state level to increase the number of veterans in registered apprenticeships, including establishing tax-credits for employers that recruit veterans, augmenting funding streams for programs that recruit veterans, designating state agencies to promote and monitor veteran participation in apprenticeship and requiring public sector contractors to establish plans and goals for recruiting veterans. 

Apprenticeship as a Tool to Help Veterans Overcome Barriers to Employment 

Registered Apprenticeships – training programs that are registered with the U.S. Department of Labor or state apprenticeship agency – provide participants with paid, on-the-job learning and tailored classroom instruction. Apprentices work one-on-one with a mentor that helps them navigate workplace culture and build strong support networks. Apprentices also earn a nationally recognized, portable credential upon completion of their program. 

Apprenticeship can help veterans overcome common barriers to employment, such as: 

Difficulty Translating Skills to the Civilian Workforce 

Veterans often face underemployment because they experience difficulty converting skills learned in the military to the civilian workforce. They also frequently lack professional networks outside of the military that can help them find a job that is consistent with their level of work experience. Apprenticeship addresses veteran underemployment by providing veterans with a clear pathway into a career that builds upon their skills and work experience without requiring a bachelor’s degree. The Department of Labor can even provide veterans with advanced standing in their program if their military training and experience is in a similar occupation.  

Lack of Support in the Workplace  

Studies show that veterans often leave their first civilian job because they encounter a lack of support and an unfamiliar work culture. Through apprenticeship, veterans receive individualized training with an experienced mentor who provides long-term support throughout the program.  

Lack of Professional Development Opportunities and Avenues for Advancement  

Many veterans may struggle to adjust to civilian work due to a lack of opportunities for professional growth and advancement – a key feature of apprenticeship programs. Through apprenticeship, veterans work one-on-one with a mentor to identify and engage in opportunities for growth. Apprenticeship also provides participants with progressive wage increases and a nationally recognized, portable credential. 

Additionally, veterans can utilize GI Bill benefits for approved apprenticeship programs, including tax-free money for books and supplies and a monthly housing allowance. 

State Strategies to Engage Veterans in Apprenticeship 

Recognizing these benefits, state policymakers have employed the following strategies to increase veterans’ access to apprenticeships:  

Establishing tax credits for employers that hire veterans as apprentices  

In South Carolina, the legislature enacted Senate Bill 0901 in June 2022. The bill provides a tax credit to any taxpayer that hires a veteran as part of a registered apprenticeship program. In the first year of employment, the employer will receive $3,000 for each eligible employee. An employer can receive this credit for three years. 

Montana offers a tax credit of $1,500 to employers for each new registered apprentice hired that is a veteran. The tax credit can be applied for the length of each apprentice’s training program or up to five years. 

Augmenting funding streams for programs that recruit minority groups – including veterans – into apprenticeships  

Michigan enacted House Bill 5783 (2022) providing $250,000 in funds to a national nonprofit program connecting military service members with skilled training and quality career opportunities in the construction industry. A portion of these grant funds must be used to help veterans transition into apprenticeship programs in the state. 

Similarly, Maryland enacted legislation establishing a Clean Energy Workforce Account to provide grants to support apprenticeship training programs. The fund set aside $750,000 for the recruitment of individuals, including veterans, to pre-apprenticeship and Registered Apprenticeships programs. 

Designating state entities that are responsible for promoting and monitoring veteran participation in apprenticeship  

To better monitor veteran participation in apprenticeship, the Colorado General Assembly enacted House Bill 21-1007 (2021) establishing the State Apprenticeship Agency and the Interagency Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship. The advisory committee was tasked with, among other things, providing annual reports to the executive director of the Department of Labor and Employment on apprenticeship data disaggregated by age, race, gender, veteran status, disability and industry. 

Similarly, California enacted Senate Bill 103 in 2018, directing the Department of Transportation to sponsor, fund or partner with apprenticeship programs engaged in specific efforts to increase participation in the construction industry among certain groups, including disabled veterans. 

Requiring public sector contractors to establish plans and goals for recruiting underserved groups – including veterans – in apprenticeships  

The Oregon legislature enacted Senate Bill 5701 (2022), requiring any company contracting with public universities to establish and execute a plan for outreach, recruitment and retention of underserved groups in “apprenticeable occupations.” Plans should have a target of having at least 15 percent of total work hours performed by women, minority individuals and/or veterans. 

Massachusetts enacted House Bill 3770 (2021) regarding construction of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home. The bill specifies that as part of the construction project, an agreement must be made with the appropriate labor organization that facilitates the entry of interested veterans into the building and construction trades. The labor organization must designate an entity or organization to serve as a resource for preliminary orientation, apprenticeship programs and other needs to foster veteran employment opportunities. 

Apprenticeships can help veterans in their transition to civilian life by providing opportunities to earn competitive wages, refine and apply existing skill sets and engage in opportunities for professional development. States, along with the federal government, have continued to take steps to increase veteran participation in apprenticeships.  

For more information on state initiatives to further engage veterans in apprenticeship, please reach out to the education and workforce team at The Council of State Governments Center of Innovation.