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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

Tuesday, June 5, 2018
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 Deputy Secretary Hagerup Congratulates 12 Project SEARCH Graduates at the Milwaukee County Zoo

WI's Project SEARCH program has an average employment success rate of 88 percent

MILWAUKEE – Today, Department of Workforce Development Deputy Secretary Chris Hagerup congratulated 12 Project SEARCH graduates from the Milwaukee County Zoo at a ceremony held in the Peck Welcome Center. The 2017-2018 class represents the site's third class of graduates.

"Project SEARCH has a proven track record of preparing young adults with disabilities for a rewarding career, with nearly 9 out of every 10 graduates securing employment before or shortly after graduation," Deputy Secretary Hagerup said. "I would like to congratulate the graduates and thank their parents and all who made the program possible at the Milwaukee County Zoo."

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 five 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.

Wisconsin Recognized as a National Leader in Project SEARCH

During this year's Project SEARCH National Conference, held July 24-27, 2017, at Kalahari Resort in Pocono Manor, PA, Wisconsin Project SEARCH sites were among 198 sites from across the world honored. Three Wisconsin Project SEARCH sites were recognized for having a 100 percent successful employment outcome for the 2015-2016 school year: Aspirus Riverview Hospital and Clinics in Wisconsin Rapids, Kalahari Resort in the Wisconsin Dells, and Ministry St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield. Six additional sites were recognized for achieving successful employment outcomes between 80 and 89 percent and two sites were recognized for successfully placing between 70 and 79 percent of Project SEARCH participants. Through the 2016-2017 school year, Project SEARCH sites in Wisconsin have an average employment success rate of 88 percent, outpacing the national Project SEARCH employment rate by 15 percent.

The 2017-2019 biennial budget that Governor Walker signed last summer includes several initiatives to promote employment for people with disabilities, including:

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