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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

Wednesday, May 20, 2015
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/news.htm
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On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

A Better Bottom Line: Governor's Administration Announces State-Tribal Partnership to Train Persons with Disabilities

Initiative supported through Governor's Wisconsin Fast Forward-Blueprint for Prosperity Initiative

MADISON – Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson announced today the launch of a state-tribal partnership to help job seekers with disabilities prepare for employment with Wisconsin-based Native American tribal businesses.

"This collaborative project builds on a training model that has been successful with many Wisconsin employers and has created new opportunities for persons with disabilities," Secretary Newson said. "We are pleased to be partnering on this effort to help Native American tribal businesses improve their bottom line by employing more individuals with disabilities."

As part of this model, called "Place-and-Train," DWD's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) works with a business to identify its specific hiring needs and then assists in developing a training curriculum that focuses on job seekers with disabilities. DVR this month finalized a partnership with the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council (GLITC) and its member tribes to advance a place-and-train program for tribal businesses.

GLITC Deputy Director Jeff Muse said, "This partnership will help our tribal businesses recruit job seekers with disabilities who are qualified and job ready, and at the same time help people with disabilities increase their independence and economic self-sufficiency. It's a win-win."

The initiative is among 11 projects that were awarded up to $622,340 last year to train as many as 210 workers with disabilities as part of the Blueprint for Prosperity expansion to Governor Walker's Wisconsin Fast Forward worker training grant program. The Blueprint for Prosperity expansion targeted three areas, including grants to reduce wait lists at Wisconsin technical colleges, grants for collaborative school-to-work programs, and funds to enhance employment opportunities for workers with disabilities.

Tribal organizations were awarded a $97,272 grant to recruit, train, support, and hire individuals with disabilities for positions at tribe-owned operations in reception, housekeeping and hospitality, and the GLITC partnership resulted from the planning for this program.

DVR, GLITC and member tribes identified businesses that could host training and provide internships to job seekers with disabilities. Both native and non-native job seekers with disabilities are referred to the training program, which includes both soft skills training and training that is specific to each business. The first cohort of trainees has started training this month. They are preparing for employment at several businesses of the Lac du Flambeau Tribe.

The program will eventually expand to include training and employment opportunities for job seekers with disabilities at St. Croix, Red Cliff and Bad River tribal businesses.

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.

For more information: http://wisconsinfastforward.com/prosperity/ or http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dvr/

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