Policy Director: State Seeing 'More Significant Numbers' Of People With Disabilities Employed

Close To 10,000 People With Disabilities Found Job Through Government Program Since 2014
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Since 2014, about 9,500 people with disabilities have found employment through A Better Bottom Line, a program run by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation aimed at encouraging employers to hire those with disabilities.

Officials estimated $167 million in annual earnings for people who have found employment through the program, according to a Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development press release Thursday.

Lisa Pugh, public policy director at Disability Rights Wisconsin, said they are happy the state funding has given people opportunity.

"We have not yet realized the full potential of people with disabilities in workplaces across Wisconsin," Pugh said. "So, finally, with that investment, we really are starting to see more significant numbers of people with disabilities contributing to the economy."

It is important everyone has a chance to have a job, said John Dipko, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development communications director.

"We need to make sure that our system encourages the full participation of everyone who wants to work," Dipko said. "We need to make sure that we're tapping the talents of everyone who wants to work. Especially as we have over 90,000 job openings."

Earlier this month the department announced it was expanding its Project Search program to include 25 sites. The program gives people with disabilities work experience while taking classes. Since 2008, more than 450 people have graduated from the program.

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