GREEN BAY - Gov. Tommy G. Thompson today announced a $1.2 million program to help employers find the workers they need by increasing employment opportunities for the disabled. The governor made the announcement as part of his annual move of state government out of Madison.
Gov. Thompson announced the grant program after formally declaring October as Disability Employment Awareness Month. The theme of this year's observance is "Ability for Hire."
"Hiring workers with disabilities just makes good business sense," Gov. Thompson said. "The disabled have the quality most in demand by employers: the willingness to work."
The $1.2 million grant program was developed by the state Department of Commerce and the state Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. It provides equipment and specialized training grants and technical assistance to employers who hire people with disabilities as a part of a business expansion. Companies interested in applying can contact the Department of Workforce Development at (608) 266-3131.
Wisconsin's unemployment rate for the disabled, 55 percent, is well below the national average of 67 percent, two-thirds of those who have jobs are underemployed. The state Division of Vocational Rehabilitation provides employment-related services to 40,000 Wisconsinites each year.
The announcement was made at Associated Banc-Corp Services in Green Bay, one of several local businesses the governor recognized at the ceremony for their commitment to hiring workers with disabilities. Other honorees included:
Copps Food Center
Employers Health Insurance
Lox Stock n' Bagel
House of Ryan Dodge