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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, March 23, 2017
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 Secretary Allen Announces New Project SEARCH Site at General Mitchell International Airport

MILWAUKEE – Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Ray Allen announced today that General Mitchell International Airport is the newest Project SEARCH site in the Milwaukee Area. 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.

"This new collaboration with General Mitchell International Airport will help individuals with disabilities develop the skills necessary to succeed in the workforce and achieve greater independence," Governor Scott Walker said. "Through innovative programs such as Project SEARCH, we are making investments to help everyone who wants to develop the skills needed for jobs today and into the future."

The airport-based Project SEARCH program will operate through a collaboration and funding support through partners including Milwaukee County's General Mitchell International Airport, Milwaukee Public Schools, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin, DWD's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

"Individuals with disabilities are among the most dedicated and motivated workers and will help improve any employer's bottom line," DWD Secretary Allen said. "We also thank Milwaukee County for serving as a Project SEARCH site at General Mitchell International Airport."

“Project SEARCH provides a unique opportunity to help empower young people with the skills they need to grow and thrive in the workplace. Milwaukee County was thrilled to partner with Goodwill Industries and the State of Wisconsin to host Project SEARCH at the Milwaukee County Zoo last year and we look forward to another successful partnership at Mitchell Airport,” said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.

Project SEARCH was developed in 1996 by Nurse J. Erin Riehle, then the Director of the Emergency Department at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. As the flagship program, Cincinnati Children's Hospital provides technical assistance for replication and overall leadership to Project SEARCH. The program now has more than 400 sites nationwide.

By the end of 2017, there will be a total of 27 Project SEARCH sites in the state of Wisconsin, with an average employment success rate of 88 percent.

In Wisconsin, more than 450 individuals with disabilities have graduated from the program since 2008.

Wisconsin's DVR helped approximately 9,500 workers with disabilities reach their employment goals during the first two federal fiscal years (FFY 2015-16) following the launch of Governor Walker's A Better Bottom Line initiative to encourage more employers to hire job seekers 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.

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