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DVR Career Pathways Advancement Initiative

Nationally and in Wisconsin, vocational rehabilitation agencies successfully help individuals with disabilities obtain and maintain employment. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) emphasizes helping individuals obtain 21st century skills to increase self-sufficiency and independence. To advance this shared objective, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) applied for a U.S. Department of Education Career Pathways Advancement (CPA) Initiative grant in Spring 2021 and was awarded $14 million in September 2021. DVR was awarded an additional $6.1 million in September 2023 to expand the program to support 300 more job seekers.

The CPA Initiative allows DVR to create resources and opportunities to support consumers to advance in a career in one of four fields: Healthcare, Digital/Information Technology, Construction, and Manufacturing.

Initiative Goals

  • Increase the percentage of DVR consumers who successfully advance in careers in healthcare, digital/information technology, construction, and manufacturing
  • Increase DVR consumer wages earned and hours worked per week
  • Expand employer provided benefits offered to DVR consumers
  • Decrease DVR consumer use of public benefits
  • Increase job-driven skills training and industry recognized credentials
  • Improve and maximize Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE) outcomes and economic self-sufficiency for DVR consumers

To achieve these goals, DVR will use the $20.1 million CPA Initiative grant over five years to enroll at least 800 individuals in the program. Grant-funded efforts will focus on four STEM areas: healthcare, manufacturing, construction, and digital/information technology.

Process Steps

  • Enroll former DVR consumers with cases closed in one of the four identified career categories who are interested in advancing their employment in these areas
  • Reach out to potential and current DVR consumers interested in advancing their careers in one these areas
  • Provide training to DVR staff and partners to increase understanding of career pathways and awareness of local and regional training and resources including apprenticeships and employment and training grants and programs
  • Improve collaboration and coordination with WIOA partners in providing career pathways for individuals with disabilities
  • Increase partner and employer awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion and disability accommodations
  • Provide local employers a larger pool of trained job seekers with the interests, skills, and abilities needed to fill open positions
  • Provide regional program support through four project positions to assist with outreach and enrollment of individuals into the program and provide technical assistance to the Workforce Development Areas (WDAs), partners, and project manager
  • For job seekers enrolled in the initiative, DVR staff will:
    • Provide career counseling
    • Identify a job goal in one of the four career pathways
    • As appropriate, offer additional support services, benefits counseling, training in financial literacy, self-advocacy, and soft-skills, assistive technology, and training funds
    • Provide other services not related to the CPA Initiative as needed

The contents of this website were developed under a grant (H421C210018) from the Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1221e-3 and 3474).