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the rehabilitation resource

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

image: NDEAM LogoHeld each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a national campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. This year's theme is "A Strong Workforce is an Inclusive Workforce: What Can YOU Do?"

Throughout the month, locally sponsored DVR events will recognize businesses for their efforts to recruit, hire and retain employees with disabilities!

Walgreens and DVR are REDI!

image: REDI Photo

This team of WDA staff serve as the leads for the Walgreens REDI program in the Milwaukee area. They are, from left, Jennie Hrodey, Lela Yang, Amanda Rosalez and Lea Collins-Worachek.

The Walgreens REDI, Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative, is partnering with DVR to provide retail employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The program is in full swing in several other states, and a REDI pilot launched in the Milwaukee area earlier this year.

The first class of REDI participants will graduate from the program later this month. Of the 12 participants in this initial class, 8 have been offered permanent employment at Walgreens retail locations in the Milwaukee area.

REDI is a Walgreens' designed retail customer service training and applicant pool certification program. Graduates of the program are certified for the Walgreens applicant pool, which is also accessed by recruiters for Lowes and Office Max.

image: WQOW InterviewOut of the Darkness

DVR counselor Natalie Carlsten (Menomonie) is an organizer for the Out of the Darkness Walk in Eau Claire on September 8, 2012.

The local event is part of a national campaign to raise awareness about suicide and suicide prevention. It is sponsored by The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

Click on the picture at the right to see Natalie's interview on Channel 18 (note - you may be redirected to a short/15-second commercial prior to seeing the interview). The interview aired August 14, 2012.

If this link doesn't work, you can click on http://www.wqow.com/category/174901/daybreak-interviews and click on "next" to find the August 14th interview.

DVR Cold Case Unit

The DVR Cold Case Unit is encouraging DVR staff to send referrals to the unit. The information can be sent to the Cold Case Unit mailbox - search for DWD MB DVR Cold Case Unit in Outlook.

The Cold Case Unit can assist in finding DVR consumers, particularly for wages to close status 26 or for Social Security reimbursement tracking. The unit is also working on follow up with individuals that DVR may have lost contact with. The goal is to find them and determine if they are interested in re-engaging in DVR services.

Successful Food Drive

The offices of WDA 2 recently participated in a food drive as part of their wellness activity. The offices collected more than 800 pounds of food for The Hunger Task force of Milwaukee.

VRC Lyssa Frechette coordinated the food drive. WDA 2 Director Lea Collins-Worachek said, "It is significant that, during challenging times, WDA 2 staff came together with Lyssa's leadership, collected and donated 800 pounds of food."

Invoice Resolution Form

Changes have been made to the DVR Invoice Resolution form that will help improve communications with vendors and to make the dispute resolution process more efficient.

The updated form is available at http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/forms/dvr/doc/dvr_14726_e.doc.

BOND Information

WDA 9 Director Amy Grotzke, along with Samina Grimes (VRC, WDA 9) and BOND staff, compiled information that can be helpful when talking to DVR consumers who have received information about the program from the Social Security Administration.

The Benefit Offset National Demonstration (BOND) is a demonstration program created to help Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries return to work. Through the use of a benefit offset, they are testing a different way to treat SSDI beneficiaries' work and earnings. This offset can help beneficiaries earn more and keep more of their benefits than is currently possible.

The information is available on both the DVR Internet site and the DVR WorkWeb.

DVR Letterhead

DWD Forms staff have updated DWD's Letterhead to reflect Mike Greco's permanent appointment as our Division Administrator.

For a refresher on DWD Letterhead System, staff may visit this training document/webpage - http://dwdworkweb/dwd/publications/asd/pdf/BIT_16485_P.pdf.

DVR's form letters have also been updated in the Forms Repository.

Those staff who prefer to send form letters on your local office letterhead can use the "Unprotected Body of Letter Only" versions which can be found on the DVR Forms WorkWeb page - http://dwdworkweb/dvr/forms/default.htm.

Note: With these unprotected versions, for the form field/tabbing capabilities to work, they will need to be protected at the local level. Please remember that changes should not be made to the content of any form letters.

If you have any questions regarding letterhead, please contact Audrey Merten.

Thanks for a Job Well Done

All of DVR

Email received by DVR Administrator, Mike Greco, from Rob Buettner, Wisconsin Rehabilitation Council member, Beyond Vision board member and Vision Forward Rehabilitation Services Director

I was at a great event, Live at the Lakefront, last night in Milwaukee. Beyond Vision (formerly WisCraft) and Vision Forward were the primary hosts. Frenchie Randolph, an employee at Beyond Vision was honored as the National Industries for the Blind Employee of the Year. See http://www.beyond-vision.org/blind-ambition/employee-of-the-year-frenchie-randolph/. Frenchie is also a DVR client working with Philip Marshall and a past client of Vision Forward.

Secretary Newson was at the event. In his public remarks, he congratulated Frenchie and touted the work of DVR. He mentioned Philip by name. I was also able to talk with the Secretary. He stated that DVR was the "crown jewel" of the Department. Also, he touted your efforts and the work of your leadership team. He stayed at the event for over two hours and did a great job of "working" the event.

I left the event feeling proud of the work we all do and I wanted to share with you.

Take care,

Angie Boutwell, CCC - Kenosha

Email sent to WDA 1 Director, Patti Johnson, from a consumer's sister

I just wanted to pass along a sincere thanks for the great help provided by Angie Boutwell last week. On Friday, Angie met with my brother, my mother, and I to discuss the possibility of employment for my brother. I was so pleased with the level of respect, care, and compassion that Angie showed him. He has a TBI among other health issues and often needs to be redirected and reigned back in. This can cause a lot of frustration for many people that don't understand Aaron's conditions. Angie did a magnificent job keeping him on task and focused without belittling him or being disrespectful.

Angie is a wonderful blessing to your office and the community members who may need her help working towards achieving their goals.

La Crosse Staff

Email received by WDA 9 Director, Amy Grotzke, from a service provider that recently expanded to the La Crosse area

I wanted to thank you and your team for making our growth into the La Crosse area a very positive experience. I spent a lot of time in the area initially, and now I am doing much more training and guidance via phone, email, etc.

All of the counselors are great to work with; they have really partnered with Stacy to help her learn more during those situations that cannot be predicted and are helping to guide with longevity and wisdom in the field. Stacy is also very appreciative. I wanted to recognize Ed (Karlman) in particular, he contacted me the other day to provide feedback about our services and a particularly difficult case he and Stacey had worked on. Great to hear!

We are creating a great partnership which will result in great outcomes.

Tamara Silha, VRC - Sheboygan

I love what I do now and I feel very needed and appreciated as daily I hear from different workers 'thank you' words or 'great job'. My boss is young but skilled, which puts a lot of trust in me. I am very thankful to all his employees and to him for making it a place where I really enjoy going to work. I would also like to say THANK YOU to you as you are a big part in my recovery from depression and current success of getting that job!

Charlie Olson, DVR Central Office

From DVR Deputy Administrator, JoAnna Richard

I received a voice mail message from a consumer who indicated that when he called Central Office and spoke with Charlie Olson, he received the "best customer service he has ever experienced". "Charlie went beyond expectations in assisting him".

Megan Banik (VRC) and Beth Ulrich (CCC) - Menasha

letter received from the wife of a DVR consumer

Words are not enough to express our gratitude for all you've done for our family. I can see a burden that has been lifted ever since we received the lift (piece of rehabilitation technology). We believe with this lift we will have even more business potential than we did before (consumer's name) accident.

Thank you for all of the time you have spent with us and the attitude toward him of really wanting to make a difference. You are very gifted at what you do and have been a huge blessing to us.

Jennifer Mikalowsky, VRC - Sheboygan

email received by WDA 5 Director, Anna Eggebrecht

I need to let you know how absolutely wonderful Jennifer Mikalowsky has been with me throughout the process - putting aside the confusions and misunderstandings. Please let Jennifer know that I submitted this to you. She is really a great person.

What's New/Updated on the Web

Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) Program

The following DVR materials were updated (to remove any reference to this program):

Knowledgebase Updates

Staff Updates

New Faces/Transfers:

  • Mallory Hall, VR Counselor (Manitowoc)
  • Megan Schueller, VR Counselor (Menomonie - Transfer from Eau Claire)


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