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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

Thursday, August 6, 2015
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/news.htm
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On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

Deputy Secretary Maxwell Joins Wisconsin Promise 'Take Your Legislator' to Work Event

Program provides training and education for high school students with disabilities

MADISON – Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Deputy Secretary Georgia Maxwell today joined Madison Arnold, a youth with disabilities who works at Savers Thrift Store, as the youth provided a tour to State Senator Mark Miller of Monona about her job. The visit is part of the Wisconsin Promise Take Your Legislator to Work initiative, which highlights the Wisconsin Promise initiative for youth with disabilities and their families.

"We know when youth with disabilities work while they are in high school, they are much more likely to work after they leave high school, putting them on a path toward greater independence," Deputy Secretary Maxwell said. "Madison is developing the skills that will help her be a successful adult with a very bright future."

Madison enrolled in Wisconsin Promise, a national grant-supported project intended to improve education and employment services for youth SSI (Social Security Supplemental Security Income) recipients and their families. Wisconsin Promise is administered by DWD's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. The grant program was launched in early 2014, which Governor Walker declared as Year of A Better Bottom Line to encourage more businesses to employ people with disabilities and learn how these workers can improve a company's bottom line.

"Work experience is essential for students with disabilities. It allows them to develop skills that will help them become independent and self-sufficient adults and I am thrilled I was able to spend time with Madison today as she worked so diligently at her job," said Senator Miller, who is Arnold's legislator and whose district includes Savers.

Plans call for 2,000 youth, between the ages of 14-16, receiving SSI and their families to be enrolled through April 2016, with about half receiving grant-supported services and the other half receiving traditional DVR case management services. Key services offered to Wisconsin Promise youth and their families are work experiences, work incentives benefits counseling, financial literacy, connections to community resources, labor market information, and education and training. Arnold and her family are currently working with a DVR counselor as part of the program.

Wisconsin Promise Take Your Legislator to Work is modeled after a similar initiative developed by the Wisconsin Board for People with Development Disabilities (BPDD), which highlights how everyone wins when people with disabilities have community-integrated jobs.

In fiscal year 2014, DVR helped 4,415 job seekers with disabilities to achieve their employment goals.

To learn more about Wisconsin Promise, call (855) 480-5618 or visit www.promisewi.com

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