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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
Friday, August 21, 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

Lt. Governor, DWD Deputy Secretary Congratulate Project SEARCH Graduates

Program provides training and education for high school students with disabilities

MADISON – Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Deputy Secretary Georgia Maxwell today congratulated the latest graduates of a training and education program for students with disabilities in their last year of high school. Project SEARCH provides students with disabilities with the skills and work experience that will help them become employed after high school.

"Project SEARCH helps young people with disabilities develop important skills, setting them on a path toward a bright future," Lt. Governor Kleefisch said at the graduation ceremony held at the William S. Middleton Memorial Hospital in Madison. "On behalf of Governor Walker, I am pleased to congratulate these graduates and recognize the many partners who made today's celebration possible."

Since 2008, 203 students with disabilities have graduated from Project SEARCH programs throughout Wisconsin, including programs at William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital and UW Hospital in Madison. Other Project SEARCH sites are located in Marshfield, Menomonie, Appleton, Waukesha and Milwaukee.

Governor Walker expanded the Project SEARCH program in Wisconsin through his Year of A Better Bottom Line initiative, which he declared in 2014 to encourage businesses to employ job seekers with disabilities. 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.

The cornerstone of Project SEARCH is total immersion into the business environment. Five days a week, Project SEARCH interns report to the Veterans Hospital and the UW Hospital to learn employability skills in a classroom and hands-on job skills. During their time in the program, they participate in 10-week internship rotations where they gain real-life work experience and that give them marketable, transferable and competitive skills.

"We appreciate the commitment to this program shown by the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital and UW Hospital, along with the Madison Metropolitan School District, Madison Area Rehabilitation Centers, Inc. (MARC), and DWD's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation," Deputy Secretary Maxwell said. "This successful collaboration is helping students develop in-demand skills and move toward greater independence."

DVR staff, teachers and hospital human resources staff participate in the screening and selection process for Project SEARCH interns. Staff from both the school district and MARC assisted the interns on the job to ensure they have the supports they need to be successful.

For more information visit the Project Search website

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