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Governor Walker Targets Resources to Meet Critical Workforce Needs

DVR Business Service Consultants and Office of Veterans Services

A Better Bottom Line: Governor Walker Announces Partnerships for Project SEARCH Expansion

Wisconsin Fast Forward -- Blueprint for Prosperity

Governor Walker Targets Resources to Meet Critical Workforce Needs

photo of DWD Secretary Reggie NewsonBy Reggie Newson, DWD Secretary

Persons with disabilities have diverse skills, strengths and interests, and are an asset to any workplace setting. Now, thanks to Governor Walker's Blueprint for Prosperity initiative, employers have more opportunities to develop and implement innovative programs to hire and train persons with disabilities.

We are currently accepting grant applications from employers to train workers with disabilities under the Governor's $35.4 million expansion of the Wisconsin Fast Forward worker training program. the expansion is part of the Governor's Blueprint for Prosperity initiative.

Up to $1 million is available for grants ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. The application deadline is September 16, 2014.

We encourage interested employers to contact our Division on Vocational Rehabilitation for more information about application criteria and process. OSD is working with DWD's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and Office of Veterans Services (OVS) to provide technical assistance to employers that want to develop applications.

The grant announcement and application materials are available at: http://WisconsinFastForward.com under "Blueprint for Prosperity."


DVR Business Service Consultants and Office of Veterans Services

DVR Business Service Consultants and the Office of Veterans Services (OVS) Local Veterans Employment Representatives (LVERS) are available to assist employers.

Employers that have not previously worked with DVR Business Service Consultants or with LVER can take this opportunity to learn more about how these groups can assist employers with any recruitment or hiring needs.

DVR Business Service Consultants can assist by:

  • Enabling businesses to tap into highly reliable and qualified job applicants.
  • Supporting businesses to build strategies to ensure employee retention.
  • Developing a comprehensive assessment of employer needs, including specific skills, tasks, and positions that are in demand.
  • Developing customized on-site or off-site training based on identified workforce needs.

The Office of Veterans Services specialized in assisting disabled veterans prepare for the job market and find employment. Our network of Local Veteran Employment Representatives and Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialists help prepare veterans for employment and connect them with employers through targeted business engagement.

For more information:


A Better Bottom Line: Governor Scott Walker Announces Partnerships for Project SEARCH Expansion

Governor Walker, along with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) and Department of Health Services (DHS), announced an expansion of the number of Project SEARCH sites from seven to 14. Under this phase of the expansion, first unveiled in Governor Walker’s Blueprint for Prosperity plan, seven additional community agencies and schools will join Project SEARCH to help young adults with disabilities gain employment training, and learn marketable skills, to help them enter the workforce.

Wisconsin Project SEARCH provides total immersion in a large business, giving young adults with disabilities an opportunity to explore careers and receive training. The students report to the host business, learn employability skills in the classroom, and gain job skills while participating in three or four internships during the year. The ultimate goal is to help the students gain independence and competitive employment. Local Business Advisory Boards are also a key component of Project SEARCH and are partners in efforts to identify potential employers for Project SEARCH graduates.

Governor Walker this year signed legislation for a $35.4 million expansion to the Wisconsin Fast Forward (WFF) worker training program as part of his Blueprint for Prosperity Initiative. Included is $850,000 to expand the number of Project SEARCH sites in Wisconsin from seven to 27 over three years, starting with today's announced expansion of seven sites. DWD's Office of Skills Development (OSD) is working with DWD's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and DHS on the Project SEARCH expansion.

Partnering agencies receive pre-paid training and technical assistance required for all Project SEARCH initiatives. The training is provided by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC). Project SEARCH was developed at CCHMC in 1996 by Nurse J. Erin Riehle, then the director of the Emergency Department there. Project SEARCH is now an internationally recognized model of employment training for young adults with disabilities.

Project SEARCH is part of the Governor's Year of A Better Bottom Line to encourage and promote employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Project SEARCH expansion partners and locations include:

Lead Agency Type of Agency City
ASPIRO Vocational Provider Green Bay
Sauk Prairie School District Public School District Sauk City
River Falls School District Public School District River Falls
My Innovative Services Vocational Provider Stevens Point
Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin, Inc. Vocational Provider Milwaukee
Opportunities Development Centers, Inc. Vocational Provider Wisconsin Rapids
Cooperative Educational Service Agency 5 Public School District Portage

For more information:

Wisconsin Project SEARCH: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dvr/service_providers/projects/default.htm#project_search

Wisconsin Fast Forward -- Blueprint for Prosperity: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/wff/prosperity/



Wisconsin Fast Forward -- Blueprint for Prosperity

Earlier this year, the Governor proposed the Blueprint for Prosperity, which increased the Wisconsin Fast Forward worker training program by $35.4 million targeted to three areas:

  • Reducing wait lists at Wisconsin technical colleges in high-demand fields.
  • Encouraging collaborative projects among high schools, technical colleges, and employers that result in industry-recognized certifications for high school students.
  • Enhanced employment opportunities for workers with disabilities, which is the theme of Governor Walker's Year of A Better Bottom Line initiative.

Additionally, funds were included to increase Project SEARCH, a transition program for high school students with disabilities to transition into employment, from 7 to 27 sites in Wisconsin.

The Office of Skills Development is administering the Wisconsin Fast Forward -- Blueprint for Prosperity grants, ensuring that the funds are distributed appropriately and monitoring the programs outcomes.



Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, PO Box 7946, Madison, WI 53707-7946 (608) 266-3131
http://dwd.wisconsin.gov

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