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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, October 1, 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

Governor Walker Proclaims October Disability Employment Awareness Month

In Burlington, First Lady & DWD Secretary honor businesses that hire people with disabilities

BURLINGTON – Governor Walker has proclaimed October as Disability Employment Awareness Month in Wisconsin to promote employment opportunities for job seekers with disabilities and encourage businesses to learn how hiring people with disabilities can improve the company's bottom line.

Today, Wisconsin First Lady Tonette Walker and Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson took part in a southeastern Wisconsin Business Summit to launch the commemorative month and recognize regional businesses for their commitment to recruit and hire job seekers with disabilities. DWD's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) hosted the summit at Veterans Terrace at Echo Park in Burlington.

"On behalf of my husband, I am pleased to recognize these businesses today for their commitment to provide opportunities and job supports to people with disabilities," Mrs. Walker said. "Job seekers with disabilities offer Wisconsin employers a talent pipeline of skilled, motivated and dedicated workers. We encourage businesses across the state to follow their example and experience how employing job seekers with disabilities will improve their bottom line."

The businesses being recognized received plaques signed by Governor Walker declaring them Exemplary Employers for their efforts to create inclusive workplaces that include people with disabilities. Award recipients from the region included Gateway Technical College Fab Lab, Grand Geneva Resort and Spa, Have A Good Hair Day!, Synerject, and Yutka Fence.

"The Department of Workforce Development is Wisconsin's talent development agency, and our Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is committed to meeting the talent needs of our state's employers," DWD Secretary Newson said. "We help thousands of job seekers with disabilities reach their employment goals and, at the same time, help employers fill openings they need to stay competitive."

A Better Bottom Line
Governor Walker launched the year of A Better Bottom Line initiative in 2014 in support of overcoming obstacles to employment for people with disabilities. A Better Bottom Line, tailored after Delaware Governor Jack Markell’s initiative with the National Governor’s Association, promotes employment opportunities for people with disabilities through recognition, education and investments in programs including Project SEARCH, which helps young people with disabilities transition from high school to the workplace. Governor Walker’s Blueprint for Prosperity increases the number of participating Project SEARCH businesses by 20, up from seven, over three years. Governor Walker also signed legislation to increase the number of people served by DVR by 6,000 to reduce the Category 2 waiting list for persons with disabilities.

DVR actively serves 17,000 job seekers with disabilities and helped 4,415 consumers reach their employment goals during the most recent federal fiscal year.

For more information: Division of Vocational Rehabilitation


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