Governor Scott Walker attended the Project SEARCH open house today as part of Disability Employment Awareness month. Project SEARCH partners with the Department of Workforce Development's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to train young adults with disabilities, so they can find employment.
"Our youth with disabilities have a wealth of talent they can contribute to the workforce and the community," Governor Walker said. "We have an obligation to provide adequate training to these individuals, so they can reach their full potential. Everyone should be able to attain the dignity that comes from work and developing your talents."
Project SEARCH is a yearlong, transitional program providing on-the-job training for youth with disabilities. The program was first developed in 1996 and expanded to Wisconsin in 2011. New Project SEARCH locations recently opened at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton and at Waukesha Memorial Hospital in Waukesha, bringing the total number of sites in the state to seven.
The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation had 3,840 successful job placements in fiscal year 2013. Each month, they average over 1,400 new applicants and are able to complete more than 300 cases. Governor Walker proclaimed October as Disability Employment Awareness month in order to raise awareness about the role of people with special needs in the workplace. An additional $4 million in state funds for vocational rehabilitation services was announced as part of the fall legislative agenda. This funding will allow the Department to help an estimated additional 3,000 individuals over the next two years.