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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

Wednesday, October 12, 2016
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/news/
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On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

DWD Officials Announce Project SEARCH Expansion at Statewide Meeting

Expansion part of Governor Walker's Year of a Better Bottom Line Initiative

WISCONSIN DELLS – Yesterday, Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Assistant Deputy Secretary Dave Anderson announced eleven additional Project SEARCH sites for the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 school years at the Project SEARCH statewide meeting at Kalahari Resorts in the Wisconsin Dells. The expansion of Project SEARCH was included in Governor Walker's Year of a Better Bottom Line Initiative.

"Governor Walker recently proclaimed October as Disability Employment Awareness Month, and today's announcement demonstrates the Governor's ongoing commitment to helping individuals with disabilities acquire gainful employment and move themselves from dependence to independence through the dignity of work," DWD Secretary Ray Allen said. "Through the two fiscal years since Governor Walker announced his Year of a Better Bottom Line Initiative, DWD's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) has assisted over 9,500 individuals achieve their employment goals, who now earn an estimated $167 million in annual wages. Wisconsin's economy is growing, and workers with disabilities are a big part of that success."

Project SEARCH is a program for young adults with disabilities which combines on-site work experience in a business environment with classroom instruction to prepare participants for gainful employment upon graduation from the program. More than 450 individuals with disabilities have graduated from the program since 2008.

"Project SEARCH would not be successful if not for the collaborative approach between the partners involved, including Wisconsin businesses," Assistant Deputy Secretary Anderson said. "I would like to thank not only our partner agencies and educational institutions, but also the businesses, like Kalahari Resorts and the other Project SEARCH employers, who know the value and benefit that individuals with disabilities bring to their workforce."

The new Project SEARCH sites for the 2016-2017 school year include Mayo Clinic in Eau Claire, Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh and Rice Lake Weighing and Manufacturing.

The new Project SEARCH sites for the 2017-2018 school year include Gunderson Lutheran Health System in La Crosse, the Milwaukee Public School Partnership, UW-Platteville, Andis Manufacturing in the Racine/Kenosha Area, Watertown Medical Center, West Bend Mutual, Riverfront Activity Center in Beloit, and St. Joseph Hospital in West Bend.

For more information on Project SEARCH and other DVR programs, please visit http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dvr/.