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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, May 31, 2017
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/news/
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On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

DWD Deputy Secretary Maxwell Congratulates Twelve Project SEARCH Graduates at Froedtert Hospital's Recognition Ceremony

Governor Walker to proclaim June 6 as Project SEARCH Day, recognizing the program as a proven talent development solution

MILWAUKEE –Today, Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Deputy Secretary Georgia Maxwell joined state and local partners at Froedtert Hospital's Project SEARCH graduation ceremony in Milwaukee. Project SEARCH combines work experience and classroom instruction at a work-site to provide careers skills to youth with disabilities.

"Project SEARCH is a proven talent development program which provides youth with disabilities the opportunity to showcase their many abilities to employers," Deputy Secretary Maxwell said. "Individuals with disabilities want to work, and when given the opportunity they demonstrate that they are reliable, hardworking and dedicated to their employer, and the value they bring to work each and every day is evident when we see the expansion of Project SEARCH across the state."

Since Governor Walker took office in 2011, Wisconsin's Project SEARCH program has expanded from one site with 11 participants during the 2010-2011 school year to 17 sites and 164 participants during the most recently completed school year.

In recognition of the Project SEARCH program, the current and former participants, host businesses, training providers and other program partners, Governor Walker will proclaim June 6, 2017 as Project SEARCH Day, recognizing the success the program has experienced in connecting youth with disabilities to skills training that provides them with the opportunity to set themselves up for a lifetime of employment success.

Project SEARCH is a business-led collaboration that enables young adults with disabilities to gain and maintain employment through training and career exploration. The 9-12 month program provides total immersion in a large community business. Students with disabilities are offered a workforce alternative for their last year of high school. All participants must be deemed eligible for services offered through DWD's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). The program is run through a partnership with DWD and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS).

The Project SEARCH program had nearly a 98 percent completion rate during the 2016-2017 school year, with 160 of the 164 participants completing the program.

A Better Bottom Line

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 former 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 16,000 job seekers with disabilities and helped a record 9,490 DVR consumers reach their employment goals during the two most recent federal fiscal years. For more information, visit https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dvr/