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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

Tuesday, June 7, 2016
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/news/
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On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

Deputy Secretary Maxwell Recognizes Project SEARCH Graduates from St.Vincent and Bellin Hospitals in Brown County

Project SEARCH program continues to provide work opportunities to youth with disabilities

DE PERE – Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Deputy Secretary Georgia Maxwell joined state and regional partners in De Pere Monday evening to congratulate seven graduates from St. Vincent and Bellin Hospital's Project SEARCH program. Project SEARCH is a collaboration between DWD's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), the state Department of Health Services (DHS), state businesses, local schools and other regional organization. The goal of the program is to provide youth with disabilities an additional option for transition planning that will teach them marketable, transferable and competitive skills that are in-demand in today's economy.

“Project SEARCH is about abilities, as participating youth overcome employment barriers, explore potential careers, and develop skills that will help them pursue their dreams and move toward greater independence," Governor Scott Walker said. "For participating employers, Project SEARCH is about addressing their need for workers by tapping the skills, abilities and energy that job seekers with disabilities offer any employer."

The cornerstone of Project SEARCH is total immersion into the business environment. DVR staff, teachers, and business human resource staff collaborate to screen and select Project SEARCH interns. After selection, interns report five days a week to the business and learn employability skills in a classroom and hands-on job skills within the business environment. Participants complete multiple 10 week rotations to maximize their exposure to different career paths.

"Project SEARCH is a win for youth for disabilities and a win for Wisconsin employers," Deputy Secretary Maxwell said. " Project SEARCH interns graduate with career skills that prepare them for competitive employment within their communities."

Governor Walker expanded Project SEARCH in 2014 when he launched the year of A Better Bottom Line initiative in support of overcoming barriers to employment for job seekers with disabilities. A Better Bottom Line is tailored after Delaware Governor Jack Markell's initiative with the National Governor's Association and promotes employment opportunities for people with disabilities through recognition, education and strategic investments.

Organizations collaborating in the Project SEARCH program at St. Vincent and Bellin Hospitals include the School District of West De Pere, Green Bay Area Public School District, ASPIRO, DVR and DHS.