Scott Walker, Governor
Raymond Allen, Secretary
Department of Workforce Development
201 E. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 7946
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Telephone: (608) 266-3131
Fax: (608) 266-1784
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 9, 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
MILWAUKEE – Yesterday, Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Deputy Secretary Chris Hagerup shadowed two former Project SEARCH participants at their host site, Milwaukee County's General Mitchell International Airport. The program graduates, Jordan and Isabella, have been employed at General Mitchell International Airport since June 2018, hired into permanent positions shortly after completion of the Project SEARCH program. Deputy Secretary Hagerup joined the two graduates in a tour of their former training classroom and current work stations. Jordan works as a Warehouse Associate with Paradies Lagardère, which operates the Airport's retail stores, while Isabella works as a Lobby Attendant for Airport dining services.
"When given the chance, individuals with disabilities often demonstrate that they are some of the most skilled and reliable workers an employer has," Deputy Secretary Hagerup said. "I would like to congratulate Jordan and Isabella on their accomplishments, and I would like to thank Mitchell Airport and Milwaukee County for recognizing the value that individuals with disabilities bring to their operations."
Both Jordan and Isabella were very excited about the Deputy Secretary's visit and the opportunity to share their Project SEARCH experiences and show off their new jobs with Mitchell Airport, the first airport in the U.S. to participate in Project SEARCH.
Project SEARCH was developed at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in 1996 by Erin Riehle, Director of Cincinnati Children's Emergency Department at the time, and Susie Rutkowski, then the special education director at Great Oaks Career Campuses. The Milwaukee-based Project SEARCH site is one of many that works to immerse youth and young adults with disabilities in a business environment through business-led collaboration. The Wisconsin Project SEARCH program now has 27 sites in operation statewide, graduating over 800 individuals from the program since 2008.
Participants in Project SEARCH report to their host business five days per week, learning employability skills in a classroom setting and hands-on job skills within the business environment. The program consists of multiple 10-week rotations to maximize participants' exposure to different career paths. This past school year, 207 individuals with disabilities participated in the program, with a graduation rate of over 90 percent. Most of these individuals, like Jordan and Isabella, went on to gain employment with their host site or another business in their community shortly after graduation.