FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 1, 2014
CONTACT: Laurel Patrick, (608) 267-7303
Year of A Better Bottom Line: Governor Scott Walker Attends Project SEARCH Completion Ceremony
St. Elizabeth Hospital’s new program graduates seven interns with marketable job skills
Appleton – Governor Scott Walker was on hand to congratulate seven Project SEARCH participants for completing internship rotations at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton. Project SEARCH is a one-year transition program for young adults with disabilities, who are in their last year of high school. It offers the interns the opportunity to learn transferable, marketable job skills, which helps them secure employment after high school. Governor Walker supported the expansion of Project SEARCH under his year of A Better Bottom Line initiative.
Today is a great day in Wisconsin as we take another step forward in supporting youth with disabilities,” Governor Walker said. “I am very proud of the seven interns graduating today. Not only did they gain real job skills, but they demonstrated what many already know – people living with disabilities are a great asset to our workforce, and our employers, and they deserve every opportunity to pursue independence and achieve the self-fulfillment that comes from being a valued employee.”
St. Elizabeth Hospital’s Project SEARCH program offers students the opportunity to complete three internships, each lasting five days a week for 10 weeks. The program is a complete immersion in the business environment and interns learn skills through worksite rotations varying from data entry, food service, nursing units, patient registration, office/clerical work, materials management or work in the surgical procedure area. The Department of Workforce Development’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVR) works with each training site to administer the Project SEARCH program.
"The valuable experience that young people receive as participants in Project SEARCH will pay dividends for years to come as they move forward in their education and career paths," Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson said. "And, as part of Governor Walker's declaration of 2014 as the Year of A Better Bottom Line, we encourage Wisconsin employers to consider hiring qualified job seekers with disabilities."
Statewide, sixty interns participated in Project SEARCH programs during the 2013-14 school year. Of the 2012 graduates, 87 percent are employed in integrated employment in their community and 30 percent were hired at the location where they completed their internships.
Other Project SEARCH locations include; UW Hospital in Madison, Madison VA Hospital, Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee, Wal-Mart Distribution Center in Menominee, Ministry St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield, and Waukesha Memorial Hospital. Under Governor Walker’s Year of A Better Bottom Line initiative, 20 additional Project SEARCH locations will be added over three years.
2014 – Year of A Better Bottom Line:
- Governor Walker proclaimed 2014 as the Year of A Better Bottom Line to encourage and promote employment opportunities for people with disabilities. A Better Bottom Line is tailored after Delaware Governor Jack Markell’s initiative with the National Governor’s Association, which details the vast benefits for employers, employees, and communities.
- During the Year of A Better Bottom Line, Governor Walker is directing state agencies to focus on recognizing and promoting public and private programs, companies, and organizations that are improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities, including veterans and students.
- Under Governor Walker’s Blueprint for Prosperity, the state is expanding Project SEARCH, a program helping young people with disabilities transition from high school to the workplace. The expansion increases the number of participating businesses by 20, up from seven, over three years.
- Governor Walker signed legislation to increase the number of people served by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation by 6,000. This will allow the state to reduce or eliminate the waiting list of persons with disabilities seeking assistance with job skills training and advocacy, so they can enter the workforce.