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Scott Walker, Governor
Raymond Allen, 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, May 26, 2016
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/news/
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WIWorkforce
On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

DWD Officials Join State and Regional Partners at Project SEARCH Graduation

Governor Walker's expansion of Project SEARCH provides more opportunities for youth with disabilities to gain hands-on work experience

STEVENS POINT – Officials from the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) joined various state and regional partners in congratulating the latest Project SEARCH graduates at Sentry Insurance. Project SEARCH combines work experience and classroom instruction that helps youth with disabilities become employed after high school.

"Individuals with disabilities are vital to Wisconsin's workforce, providing some of the most skilled and reliable talent for Wisconsin employers," Governor Walker said. "By expanding Project SEARCH, these youth are benefiting from valuable hands-on work experiences that will prepare them for the workforce and move them toward greater independence."

Project SEARCH combines on-site work experience in a business environment with classroom instruction. Interns report five days a week to their employer to learn employability skills in a classroom and hands-on job skills. Since 2008, over 220 students with disabilities have graduated from Project SEARCH programs throughout Wisconsin. Governor Walker significantly expanded Project SEARCH as part of his A Better Bottom Line initiative.

Organizations collaborating in the Project SEARCH program at Sentry Insurance include the Stevens Point School District, Innovative Services, DWD's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the state Department of Health Services. Today's graduation at Sentry Insurance included two youth who successfully completed the program.

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 like DVR.

DVR actively serves over 17,000 job seekers with disabilities and helped 4,875 consumers reach their employment goals during the most recent federal fiscal year. For more information, visit http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dvr/