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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

Monday, August 15, 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

Pre-Employment Drug Testing Program: Leaving No Skilled Talent on the Sidelines

A Guest Column by Secretary Ray Allen Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

photo of DWD Secretary Ray AllenMADISON- Wisconsin's economy is growing, and employers like you need workers to either sustain or grow your company. An ongoing skilled worker shortage means Wisconsin cannot leave any skilled talent on the sidelines, including those who want to work but cannot pass a drug test.

Governor Walker has made developing Wisconsin's workforce a top priority and his most recent budget included a new Unemployment Insurance (UI) initiative to provide treatment for UI claimants who fail a pre-employment drug test. All Wisconsin employers covered by the state's UI system can now actively help grow the pool of skilled talent by choosing to report the name of anyone who either fails or refuses to take a pre-employment drug test as part of a job offer. The Department of Workforce Development's (DWD) UI Division makes it easy for employers to report this information and will keep the information secure and confidential.

Failing or refusing to take a drug test is essentially a refusal of suitable work. If the person who fails a drug test is collecting UI benefits and agrees to undergo treatment and complete a skills assessment, they can continue to collect UI benefits while they address the underlying barriers preventing them from being work-ready. DWD will furnish the claimant with referrals and instructions so they can complete the assessment and access treatment directly. If an individual refuses to take the test or they do not agree to treatment, UI benefits will be denied.

This new program isn’t about denying benefits. It's about getting individuals the help they need to become an active participant in Wisconsin's labor force and achieve the dignity of earning a paycheck to support themselves and their families. It's also about supporting a workforce development system that taps the talents of all who want to work.

By taking a proactive approach to help individuals become work-ready, the new program reinforces the UI system as short-term support that helps those who want to work find new employment quickly. Less time collecting UI benefits means less of a draw on the UI Trust Fund, and a stronger UI Trust Fund means lower UI taxes for employers.

Learn how you can improve your bottom line by supporting a strong pool of workers who are ready to fill your needs.