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the rehabilitation resource

Year in Review

The cold air and frost on the ground (snow, depending on how far north you are) lets us know that 2012 is coming to a close. And 2012 has been a busy, successful and exciting year for Wisconsin DVR. And the success of our agency has translated to success for our consumers. Through the initiatives outlined below, and through the dedication of each staff member, job seekers with disabilities have connected to employment and achieved their goals.

image: Walgreens REDI Graduation Photo

Walgreens REDI graduates, program coordinators and Walgreens
store managers were recognized by DWD.

Meeting Business Needs

image: Walker Forge Presentation

DWD Executive Assistant Georgia Maxwell (standing, center) recognizes Walker Forge as an exemplary employer, and congratulates a recent hire, Jacob Dudzik (seated), initially employed as a press operator and returning as a drafter for Walker Forge after a spinal cord injury. Also pictured are DVR Administrator Mike Greco (left) and Walker Forge President of Manufacturing Rick Recktenwald (right).

  • Private-sector and state agency employers have benefited significantly from the following DVR OJT initiatives:
  • Since February 2009, almost 1,400, OJT private-sector hires were achieved. More than 82% of DVR consumers who participated in an OJT have achieved their employment goals, making the OJT-hire initiative a tremendous success and making it affordable for small employers to hire and train new employees.
  • In this same time period, DVR has invested nearly $1.8 million for more than 100 DVR job-seekers participating in six-month OJT internships with 15 state agencies. More than 50 DVR LTE employees are now part of the State's permanent workforce as a result of their successful completion of an OJT-LTE internship position. DVR has also trained state agency HR staff on how to utilize exceptional hiring procedures and increase the hiring of people with disabilities.
  • DVR implemented a Business Service Initiative that includes a statewide Business Service Team with representatives from each WDA to identify Single Point of Contacts and to insure a rapid response to employer demand.
  • DVR continues its participation in The National Employment Team (The NET), a national network of the 80 vocational rehabilitation (VR) programs that creates a coordinated approach to serving business customers through a national VR team.

Serving Customers

  • DVR served 43,848 individuals with disabilities who need assistance with entering, maintaining or improving their employment.
  • 3,250 individuals with disabilities successfully reached their employment goal and entered the workforce,
  • The earnings of these 3,250 recent additions to Wisconsin's workforce are projected to be $56.4 million annually, representing a 210 percent return on the public investment. A hefty portion of these earnings will also purchase goods and services, bolstering Wisconsin's economy and transforming successful DVR customers into workers and taxpayers, and measurably decreasing their dependence on public assistance.
  •   FFY 10 FFY 11 FFY 12
    Successful Outcomes 2,784 2,972 3,250
    Return on Investment 189% 197% 210%
  • DVR advanced excellence throughout its program by automating its consumer satisfaction surveys. DVR consumers rate every service they receive and in 12 months, DVR collected more than 48,000 survey responses; 99% reported that they were "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with each service they received.
  • DVR implemented an online application process for job seekers with disabilities. The new Online Application will help DVR to more effectively and efficiently connect with consumers at the earliest step in the DVR process. It will also save DVR staff time, eliminating the need for DVR staff to hand key applications that are submitted on the paper application.
  • DVR established a Cold Case Unit that is dedicated to making contact with DVR consumers who, for a variety of reasons, have not been engaged with DVR. The unit has resulted in re-connecting many DVR consumers with the services and supports that will help them be successful in reaching their job goals.
  • In Federal Fiscal Year 2012, DVR received approximately $3.2 million in reimbursements from the Social Security Administration. Reimbursed funds are folded back into the program to offer additional job-seeker and business services.


  • image: NCRE AwardDVR won this year's National Council on Rehabilitation Education (NCRE) President's Award for Excellence in Rehabilitation. The President's Award recognizes a truly superior state-federal vocational rehabilitation program and honors excellence among state agencies. Wisconsin DVR was nominated for the leadership and vision exercised in the Wisconsin Motivational Interviewing project. Motivational Interviewing allows counselors to evoke change from within the job seeker, change that is more substantial than requiring or imposing changes upon the job seeker.
  • DVR partnered with the Walgreens Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative (REDI) to provide training for individuals with disabilities in a retail setting. This national program began its pilot in the Milwaukee metro area Walgreens retail locations. The training prepares participants for success in a variety of retail settings. A total of 12 DVR consumers completed the in-store training and all passed their final evaluation. Ten DVR consumers who completed REDI training have been hired in permanent positions by Walgreens. The REDI program will be rolled out statewide throughout 2013.
  • Wisconsin continued its successful participation in Project Search, a national program that provides real-life work experience to help youth with significant disabilities make successful transitions from school to adult life. There are 4 Project Search sites in Wisconsin: UW Hospital (Madison), Children's Hospital (Milwaukee), Wal-Mart Distribution Center (Menominee), and Ministry St. Johns Hospital (Marshfield). The Madison site recently won an award at the national Project Search conference, recognizing their high retention rate (they were awarded in the 80-90% category) for program participants, the number of participants who were offered permanent employment at their intern site after their internship was over.
  • DVR partnered with the Wisconsin Board for Persons with Developmental Disability (BPDD) and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to award Let's Get to Work grants to nine schools throughout the state. The overall goal of this project is to increase the number of transition-age youth who are participating in paid, integrated, community employment prior to graduation.
  • DVR and the Department of Health Services have worked collaboratively to establish an innovative model that provides a rapid job search and includes ongoing and individualized support after a placement is made for job seekers with severe and persistent mental illness. Through this Dartmouth College-designed model, DVR expanded its service choices for DVR consumers with the most significant disabilities with the addition of Customized Employment and Individual Placement and Support (IPS). Since starting the project in 3 counties the rehabilitation rate for individuals with persistent mental illness has gone from a statewide rate of 39% to a rate of 46% and has been further expanded to 7 counties in Wisconsin. Dane and Milwaukee counties have also begun work on expansion of IPS in coordination with the other existing county projects.

Thanks for a Job Well Done

Rita Olin/DVR CCP - Central Office

Email received from a DVR CCC

The CCP Unit does a great job with all of the invoices you receive. All of you should get an award for outstanding service to the State of Wisconsin.

Diane Schultz, VRC - Madison

Email received by WDA 10 Director, Les Mirkin

Diane Schultz has been a delight to work with, she stands out because she is very good at her job. Diane has taken me forward, she's a terrific resource, she's easy to talk to, and she's exceeded my expectations - it's simply hard to believe all we've accomplished in such a short time. The last 2 years have been extremely painful, both physically and emotionally - most of the time I felt unsupported and without any control over what was happening to me - working with Diane has strengthened my healing process, empowering me and making me feel like she had my back as she facilitated the process for me. I have hope for my future for the first time in a long time - priceless! I tear up every time I think of how thankful I am.

Thank you so much for assigning Diane to work with me.

DVR Staff at the Walworth County Job Center

Coreen Knop, Jennifer Kreeb, Sandy Ellsworth and Tania Hanford

Email from Job Center Manager, Marilyn Putz

As you may know, we do Customer Satisfaction Surveys one day a quarter with all customers that day who are willing to complete them. The most recent run was October 25th, and there were so many written comments about how helpful, kind and encouraging the staff at the Walworth Job Center are. This is typical of most of the surveys we get each quarter, but this quarter seemed to have an abundance of written comments about the staff.

I just wanted to let everyone know that our customers do appreciate the work we do and "how" we do it. Keep up the good work!

Brock Hansen - VRC, Madison

Email from WDA 1 Director, Patti Johnson

I would like to offer thanks for a job very well done by Brock Hansen, DVR Counselor. The Racine Workforce Development Center posted some informational "you tube" videos describing Center services, and wanted a neutral but savvy individual to review the quality of the product, including the captioning. Brock agreed to do so, and provided very targeted, timely, professional feedback. What a great example of creative ways DVR can meet business needs! Thanks Brock!

What's New/Updated on the Web

Staff Updates

New Faces/Transfers:

  • Bianca Shaw, Consumer Case Coordinator (LTE), Milwaukee NE
  • Ann Grossman, VR Assistant (LTE), Racine
  • Rachel Becker, VR Counselor, Oshkosh (Permanent from LTE)
  • Nicholas Lampone, VR Counselor, Madison (Transfer from Dodgeville)


  • William Hustedde, VR Counselor (WDA 2)