Scott Walker, Governor
Raymond Allen, Secretary
Department of Workforce Development
201 E. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 7946
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Telephone: (608) 266-3131
Fax: (608) 266-1784
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 17, 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
Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative helps participants gain skills in retail, customer service
JANESVILLE – Today, Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Ray Allen joined Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch in Janesville to recognize seven graduates of the Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative (REDI) program, which the Walgreens Corporation operates in partnership with DWD's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR).
"Governor Walker and I have seen firsthand how workers with disabilities offer skills, talents and a level of stability that benefit an employer's bottom line, and today's graduation provides an opportunity to celebrate both these workers' achievements and Walgreens' commitment to provide them with work-based experiences," Lt. Governor Kleefisch said. "Through employer-driven programs like REDI, we are helping people with disabilities move from government dependence towards true independence and ensuring a robust talent pool for the future."
The Walgreens REDI program, is a partnership between stores and local disability resources, such as DWD's DVR that provides job skills training for people with disabilities. Since its inception, over 150 individuals with disabilities have gained employment after participating in the REDI program, with the vast majority of them gaining employment in Walgreen's stores. Today's seven graduates represent the latest class of REDI graduates, which now total 230 in Wisconsin since 2012.
"Through programs like REDI, job seekers with disabilities are gaining the skills needed to become employed in today's economy," Secretary Allen said. "We congratulate today's graduates and wish them the very best in achieving their employment goals."
Over 30 Walgreens stores participate in the REDI program across Wisconsin.
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.