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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

Friday, August 11, 2017
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/news/
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DWD Deputy Secretary Maxwell Joins DHS Secretary Seemeyer in Congratulating 12 Project SEARCH Graduates at Madison VA Hospital

Collaborative program between Madison VA and UW Hospital completes 9th year in program

MADISON – Today, Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Deputy Secretary Georgia Maxwell joined Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary Linda Seemeyer at William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital (VA Hospital) in Madison to congratulate the latest class of Project SEARCH graduates from the collaborative program hosted by both the VA Hospital and the University of Wisconsin Hospital. The latest class represents the host site's 9th class of Project SEARCH graduates.

"As the state's first and longest-serving Project SEARCH site, the Madison VA Hospital and UW Hospital provides a strong example of the positive impact that this program has had on the lives of young people with disabilities through the years," DWD Deputy Secretary Maxwell said. "With Wisconsin's unemployment rate of 3.1 percent, a labor force participation rate ranking in the top 5 among all states and new opportunities such as Foxconn’s plans to invest $10 billion and create 13,000 good-paying jobs in Wisconsin, programs like Project SEARCH are vital to ensure that everyone who wants to work can develop the skills that employers need to fill openings."

Project SEARCH is a business led collaboration that enables youth and young adults with disabilities to gain and maintain employment through training and career exploration in a hands-on work environment.

The cornerstone of the program is total immersion in a business environment. DWD's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation staff, teachers, and business human resource staff collaborate to screen and select Project SEARCH interns. The interns report give days a week to the business and learn employability skills in a classroom and hands-on job skills within the business environment. Participants complete multiple 10 week rotations to maximize their exposure to different career paths.

“We applaud all of the Project SEARCH graduates for setting personal goals, and then putting in the work that it takes to be successful,” said DHS Secretary Linda Seemeyer. “Governor Scott Walker launched the “Better Bottom Line” initiative to help more people with disabilities find jobs, by connecting them with employers who recognize what an asset you are to Wisconsin’s workforce.”

Governor Walker greatly expanded Project SEARCH in 2014 when he launched the year of A Better Bottom Line initiative in support of overcoming barriers to employment for job seekers with disabilities. A Better Bottom Line is tailored after former Delaware Governor Jack Markell's initiative with the National Governor's Association and promotes employment opportunities for people with disabilities through recognition, education, and strategic investments.

For more information, please visit http://dwd.wisconsin.gov.