Up to $1 million in Wisconsin Fast Forward – Blueprint for Prosperity funds will be available for innovative workforce solutions to train workers with disabilities.
"Persons with disabilities have diverse strengths and skills that help improve a company's bottom line to the benefit of the employer and worker," Secretary Newson said. "Governor Walker is committed to developing Wisconsin's workforce in part through initiatives that encourage employers to hire persons with disabilities, and his Blueprint for Prosperity initiative invests additional Wisconsin Fast Forward funds in this key area."
DWD's Office of Skills Development is overseeing the grant implementation in partnership with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and the Office of Veterans Employment Services (OVS). The deadline for applications is September 16, 2014.
Highlights of the grant announcement include:
•Applications are being sought from Wisconsin businesses to train persons with disabilities.
•Potential grants can range from $5,000 to $100,000.
•Potential trainees must be currently receiving Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance and/or veterans with a service-connected disability, and/or eligible DVR consumers.
•OSD will review and evaluate applications and monitor employment and wage outcomes.
Additional considerations will be given to applications that include the following:
•Working with a DVR Business Service Consultant or OVS Local Veterans Employment Representative in the recruitment of trainees
•Recruiting and training persons with significant disabilities.
•Offering community-based employment at a competitive wage.
•Committing to inclusive recruitment and hiring practices that include workers with disabilities after the end of the grant period.
Earlier this year, Governor Walker signed legislation under Blueprint for Prosperity that added $35.4 million to the Wisconsin Fast Forward worker training program. The expansion targeted three areas, including grants to reduce wait lists at Wisconsin technical colleges, grants for collaborative projects among high schools, technical colleges, and employers to train high school students in industry-recognized certifications, and grants that enhance employment opportunities for workers with disabilities.
Under Governor Walker’s Blueprint for Prosperity, the state also is expanding Project SEARCH, a program helping young people with disabilities transition from high school to the workplace. The expansion increases the number of participating businesses by 20, up from seven, over three years.
Governor Walker proclaimed 2014 as the Year of A Better Bottom Line to encourage and promote employment opportunities for people with disabilities. A Better Bottom Line is tailored after Delaware Governor Jack Markell’s initiative with the National Governor’s Association, which details the vast benefits for employers, employees, and communities.
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