Lake Geneva – Wisconsin businesses were honored today at the Governor’s Executive Residence in Madison for their efforts in hiring people with disabilities. On behalf of Governor Doyle, Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Roberta Gassman and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) Administrator Charlene Dwyer presented Lake Geneva employer, Covenant Harbor Bible Camp, with the Governor’s Exemplary Employer Award.
The award recognition event, inspired by the U.S. Department of Labor naming October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month, honored nine Wisconsin businesses. The national campaign raises awareness of the increasing number of disabled persons who have been successful in seeking and remaining in employment.
"People with disabilities are an often untapped pool of workers who are ready, willing and able to work. They can make important contributions to businesses, and to our economy," Governor Doyle said. "With 39% of our Wisconsin citizens with disabilities unemployed, I would like to salute these employers for their leadership in the business community to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities."
"The companies honored with Exemplary Employer Awards have surpassed our expectations in providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities, especially during difficult economic times," said DWD Secretary Roberta Gassman. "DVR has had tremendous success in working with companies like these in many local communities to provide employment opportunities and career choices for a largely untapped market of qualified individuals."
Employers such as Covenant Harbor Bible Camp work closely with DVR to create successful placements for hundreds of people with disabilities. "This recognition event honors the hard work of employers who provide the one-on-one support and who assist in eliminating potential employment barriers to people who want to work, despite an oftentimes challenging disability," said DVR Administrator Charlene Dwyer.
Employment opportunities for people with disabilities can become a critical component in their ability to move from a life of dependency to a life of productivity as a contributing member of society. DVR in partnership with other advocacy groups and businesses provides various programs and services that provide choices for those needing assistance.
In addition to the award ceremony, Division of Workforce Solutions staff announced the department’s new Disability Tool Kit. The Disability Tool Kit is designed to help provide insight for employers who want to hire and retain employees with disabilities. In addition, the kit includes a self-assessment tool that explores the myths and misconceptions about workers with disabilities and serves as a resource guide to utilize the labor pool to the fullest potential. For more information about the Disability Tool Kit, visit: http://www.dwd.state.wi.us/dws/programs/populations/disability/