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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, February 24, 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 Announces Businesses Selected to Host New Project SEARCH sites

Madison – Today, Governor Scott announced the Wisconsin employment partners that will participate as new sites in the Project SEARCH program, which helps young adults with disabilities gain employment training and skills to enter the workforce.

Today's events took place at Riverview Hospital in Wisconsin Rapids and St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay as they announced their new partnership with the Project SEARCH program. The phase of this Project SEARCH expansion, part of Governor Walker's Blueprint for Prosperity initiative, doubles the number of Wisconsin sites from the current seven to 14.

"The businesses and organizations taking part in this expansion will provide opportunities for students with disabilities to learn skills that help them succeed in the workforce and move toward greater independence," Governor Walker said. "At the same time, the employers will see firsthand how hiring people with disabilities can improve their bottom line."

The new Project SEARCH locations that will host students during the 2015-16 academic year include:

Wisconsin Project SEARCH combines classroom instruction with total immersion in a large business, giving young adults with disabilities an opportunity to explore careers and receive training in several internships during the year.

Governor Walker in 2014 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.

Project SEARCH was developed at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (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. The Wisconsin expansion is part of the Governor’s A Better Bottom Line initiative to encourage employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

DHS is currently accepting applications from community agencies partnering with school districts to move forward on the next phase of the Project SEARCH expansion. Applications for the next seven partnerships are being accepted through April 6, 2015, to facilitate site selection for host employers beginning in the 2016-17 school year.

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/

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