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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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 10, 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

Secretary Newson Congratulates Graduates of Project SEARCH at Waukesha Memorial Hospital

Program provides training and education for high school students with disabilities

WAUKESHA – Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson today visited Waukesha Memorial Hospital to congratulate the latest graduates of a training and education program for students with disabilities in their last year of high school. Waukesha Memorial Hospital participates in Project SEARCH, a program that provides students with disabilities with the skills and work experience that will help them become employed after high school.

"Programs like Project SEARCH put young people with disabilities on a pathway to employment and independence as adults," Secretary Newson said. "Governor Walker recognizes the value that people with disabilities bring to the workforce and encourages more employers to experience firsthand how workers with disabilities improve their bottom line."

The cornerstone of Project SEARCH is total immersion into the business environment. Five days a week, Project SEARCH interns report to Waukesha Memorial Hospital to learn employability skills in a classroom and hands-on job skills. During their time in the program, they participate in internship rotations where they gain real-life work experience and that give them marketable, transferable and competitive skills.

DVR staff, teachers and hospital human resources staff participate in the screening and selection process for Project SEARCH interns. Career coaches from the Easter Seals of Southeastern Wisconsin assist the interns on the job to ensure that they have the supports they need to be successful. Today's graduating class has nine students from Palmyra Eagle, Kettle Moraine, and Hamilton High schools.

In 2014, 65 students with disabilities completed Project SEARCH programs throughout Wisconsin. Since 2008, 203 Project SEARCH interns have completed the program. Besides the program at Waukesha Memorial Hospital, there are Project SEARCH sites in Appleton, Madison, Marshfield, Menomonie, Middleton and Milwaukee.

Project SEARCH is part of the Governor's A Better Bottom Line initiative to encourage employment opportunities for people with disabilities. In fiscal year 2014, DVR helped 4,415 job seekers with disabilities to achieve their employment goals.

Governor Walker expanded the Project SEARCH program in 2014. New funding for Project SEARCH will create 20 new sites in Wisconsin by 2017, with seven new sites accepting students for the 2015-16 school year.

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