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Scott Walker, Governor
Reginald J. Newson, Secretary

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

Tuesday, January 13, 2015
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

A Better Bottom Line: Governor Scott Walker Eliminates Waiting List for Job Seekers with Significant Disabilities

Madison – Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson today announced that the agency's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) has eliminated its waiting list for people with significant disabilities for the first time since 2004.

"This is a big win for Wisconsin employers, taxpayers and people with disabilities who really want the dignity and independence that comes from work," Governor Walker said. "We have worked hard to help those with unique abilities enter the workforce, and they prove again and again, that they are an asset to their employers."

"With strong support from Governor Walker, DVR has worked over the past 12 months to decrease the waiting time for people with significant disabilities who are interested in DVR services, and today the waiting list for them is gone," Secretary Newson said. "If the wait list has prevented persons with disabilities from seeking services, then now is the time to contact their local DVR offices."

In December 2013, Governor Walker signed Wisconsin Act 58, which had bipartisan support in both houses of the Wisconsin legislature. The measure provided DWD with additional state funding to capture the full federal match of available dollars and reduce the DVR waiting list, allowing DVR to serve an additional 3,000 job seekers with disabilities over the current biennium. The legislation also added nine DVR staff to deliver vocational guidance and counseling.

Prior to the additional funding, this group of applicants was waiting approximately five months for DVR services. The additional funding and staff helped DVR eliminate the waiting list for services for people with significant disabilities by the end of calendar year 2014. The last time there was no waiting list for this category was October 2004.

Wait list categories are based on a person's functional limitations. DVR also has no wait list for people with the most significant disabilities. A third category of individuals who are eligible for DVR services but whose disabilities are not among the most significant or significant are typically referred to local Job Center resources.

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 this skilled and capable workforce. Governor Walker's 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.

DVR is actively serving almost 17,000 job seekers with disabilities and, during the federal fiscal year that ended September 30, placed 4,415 individuals in a variety of positions. The newly employed individuals are projected to earn $78.3 million annually, more than double the taxpayer investment in their services.

For more information: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dvr/

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