Disabled Workers Expand and Diversify Wisconsin’s Workforce

Disabled Workers Expand and Diversify Wisconsin’s Workforce

  • 10/21/22
  • WorkersCompensation.com

Madison, WI (WorkersCompensation.com) – Governor Tony Evers believes everyone in Wisconsin deserves the opportunity to develop the job skills they need to achieve their employment goals. This includes helping individuals overcome barriers to employment.

This is one of the reasons the Governor proclaimed October as Disability Employment Awareness Month in Wisconsin. The month provides a great opportunity to recognize how Wisconsinites with disabilities make the state’s workforce more diverse and inclusive. It also provides the opportunity to show how employers and communities across the state benefit when workers with disabilities find new jobs and economic opportunities.

At the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) helps thousands of people with disabilities achieve their employment goals each year and, in doing so, helps Wisconsin employers hire highly skilled and highly motivated talent. In the 2021 program year alone, more than 2,000 employers hired 3,500 consumers through DVR’s work.

At any given time, DVR helps approximately 15,000 job seekers overcome disabilities in pursuit of their individual employment goals. Given Wisconsin’s strong job creation, high labor force participation rate, and a labor supply challenge driven by demographic trends that have been developing for decades, the work of DWD’s talented DVR advisors and other staff are more critical than ever.

Meanwhile, there are some 172,000 Wisconsinites with disabilities who are not attached to the workforce, though many want to work. Workers with disabilities have immense talents and skills that would benefit any employer. What better time to recognize these workers and the employers who hire them than Disability Employment Awareness Month?

Throughout October, DWD honored Wisconsin businesses with the Governor Evers Exemplary Employer Awards, in recognition of employers’ commitment to hiring, training and retaining people with disabilities. These employers are discovering that workers with disabilities are some of the most loyal, motivated and skilled workers a company can have.

Through the Exemplary Employer Awards, the Governor highlights the achievements of workers with disabilities and draws attention to employers of all sizes who have tapped into this talent pool. These companies are setting an example for other employers seeking solutions to their talent needs.

Through the leadership of Governor Evers and an unprecedented $150 million investment in the Workforce Solutions initiative, employers, job seekers, educational institutions and others are coming together to overcome barriers to employment, expand access to in-demand skills training and connect hidden talent pools to jobs. .

These investments build on DWD’s long-established programs for people with disabilities, including Project SEARCH, a business-led internship program that has provided workforce training to nearly 1,500 people. disabilities in the state since the program began here in the 2008-2009 school year. .

DWD is also working to enroll hundreds of new, past, and current DVR consumers in career paths, apprenticeships, and other programs through a five-year, $14 million competitive grant DWD received to provide workers with disabilities with new industry-recognized credentials. who are in the high-demand sectors of healthcare, manufacturing, digital technology and construction.

These are the types of initiatives that will keep our state’s talent pool strong and strengthen the economic stability of Wisconsin families and communities. During Disability Employment Awareness Month, we salute employers who help workers with disabilities achieve their employment goals and thrive.

We also invite job seekers and businesses to learn more about the programs and services offered by our DVRs. Visit us online, by email at dvr@dwd.wisconsin.gov or by phone toll-free at 800-442-3477.

Call DVR today and let us help you with your labor or employment support needs!


The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development effectively delivers effective and inclusive services to meet the diverse current and future needs of Wisconsin’s workforce. The department advocates for and invests in the protection and economic advancement of all Wisconsin workers, employers, and job seekers through six divisions – Employment and Training, Vocational Rehabilitation, Unemployment Insurance, Equal Rights, Worker’s Compensation, labor and administrative services. To keep up with DWD announcements and information, sign up for press releases and follow us on Facebook, TwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.


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Michael A. Bynum