Department of Workforce Development
Secretary's Office

201 E. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 7946
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Telephone: (608) 266-3131
Fax: (608) 266-1784
Email: sec@dwd.wisconsin.gov

DWD logo

Scott Walker, Governor
Reginald J. Newson, Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/news.htm
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WIWorkforce
On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

DWD Deputy Secretary Barry Congratulates Two Graduates of Job Training Program for People with Disabilities

Collaboration with Walgreens leads to employment for job seekers with disabilities

JANESVILLE –Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Deputy Secretary Jonathan Barry today congratulated two graduates of an on-the-job training program for people with disabilities, a state partnership with Walgreens that puts individuals on a path to employment and independence.

Since May 2012, the DWD Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) has partnered with Walgreens in the national drugstore chain’s Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative (REDI). The success of the early pilot in Milwaukee led the state and Walgreens to expand the program at Walgreens stores across the state. Today, REDI participants are receiving retail sales training in stores throughout Wisconsin. Today's graduation in Janesville is the latest example of the successful initiative.

“It is an honor to congratulate these two graduates today from the REDI program as we see that people with disabilities can play an important role in Wisconsin's economy, providing the skills and talents that businesses need to grow and succeed,” stated Deputy Secretary Barry. "Governor Walker recognizes this and has declared 2014 as the Year of a Better Bottom Line, encouraging all Wisconsin employers to consider hiring qualified job seekers with disabilities."

In 2010, Walgreens launched REDI as a pilot in Texas and soon expanded it to more than 150 stores throughout Texas, New York and Connecticut. To date, more than 200 individuals across the country have successfully completed four weeks of training as service clerks, and 66 percent have been recommended for hire.

Since May 2012, 129 externs have successfully completed REDI training statewide. Eighty of those individuals have successfully found employment – 65 of them in Walgreens stores and 15 of them with other employers.

Walgreens has more than 220 stores in Wisconsin, and the expansion of the REDI program to select locations throughout the state will continue to occur gradually. There are currently 24 REDI sites in Wisconsin, in stores in in Janesville, Beloit, Racine, Milwaukee, Franklin, Wauwatosa, Oconomowoc, Waukesha, West Bend, Oshkosh, Kaukauna, Appleton, Green Bay, Manitowoc, Menomonie, and Eau Claire.

In the Janesville area, Community Solutions of Wisconsin was recruited by DVR to facilitate the training with Walgreens. The REDI program is one way DVR investments are yielding successful outcomes for Wisconsinites.

DVR is the state’s premier program to provide employment services and counseling to people with disabilities who face substantial barriers to employment. In 2013, DVR served more than 17,000 Wisconsin residents with disabilities and placed 3,840 people in jobs. These newly employed individuals are projected to earn $66.3 million annually, which represents a more than double return on the public investment in their services. DVR’s budget is 78.7% federal funded with a 21.3% state match required for each federal dollar allotted to Wisconsin.

Governor Walker proclaimed 2014 as the Year of A Better Bottom Line to highlight successful operations thanks in part to the contributions of people with disabilities, while urging other employers to consider an often overlooked skilled and capable workforce.

For more about:

DWD on Twitter DWD on Facebook DWD RSS Feed Email DWD DWD on YouTube DWD on Flickr