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DWD logo

Tony Evers, Governor
Amy Pechacek, Secretary-designee

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

Oct. 15, 2021
CONTACT: DWD Communications

DWD's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Awarded $14 Million Federal Disability Innovation Grant

MADISON – The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) today announced that the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation has been awarded a five-year, $14 million grant from the Federal Rehabilitation Services Administration to assist people with disabilities in gaining new skills and industry-recognized credentials for high-growth occupations in health care, manufacturing, digital technology and construction.

The Rehabilitation Services Administration is part of the United States Department of Education and provides resources to states for vocational rehabilitation services that assist individuals with disabilities in achieving positive employment and career outcomes. Wisconsin's DVR works to obtain, maintain, and advance employment for people with disabilities in collaboration with DVR consumers, employers, and other partners.

"DVR connects individuals with disabilities to jobs and career pathways," DWD Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek said. "With Wisconsin's labor force participation rate of 66.5 percent ranking in the top 10 nationally, it is vital that we continue to emphasize programming that connects employers with talented individuals from underutilized talent pools such as individuals with disabilities, the justice-involved, and the long-term unemployed."

The grant funding started Oct. 1, 2021 and ends Sept. 30, 2026. DVR anticipates enrolling up to 500 new, current, and past DVR consumers into the grant program.

Using apprenticeships, career pathways, and other programs and services, the project aims to increase wages, hours worked, and job opportunities for people with disabilities and people of color with disabilities to improve self-sufficiency and reduce use of public benefits. The project is targeting career advancement opportunities in health care, manufacturing, digital technology, and construction.

Employers can contact their local Business Services Consultant for more information on how DVR can assist them with hiring and employing people with disabilities. Individuals with a disability that makes it hard for them to get or keep a job can apply for DVR services using the online referral form or contact the DVR administrative office at 608-261-0050 or toll-free at 800-442-3477.


Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development efficiently delivers effective and inclusive services to meet Wisconsin's diverse workforce needs now and for the future. The department advocates for and invests in the protection and economic advancement of all Wisconsin workers, employers and job seekers through six divisions – Employment and Training, Vocational Rehabilitation, Unemployment Insurance, Equal Rights, Worker's Compensation and Administrative Services. To keep up with DWD announcements and information, sign up for news releases here and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.