The Advantages of Independence

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hi, I’m Scott Walker.

The opportunity to make your own decisions about your life begins with hard work, but for some people living with disabilities, just getting a foot in the door can be a challenge.

Over the past few weeks, I had the opportunity to visit several locations across the state where employers have opened their doors to people of all abilities, to very positive results. 

At Features Sports Bar in Holmen, Brady and Joe gave me a tour and told me how much they like their boss, the customers, and the new friends they made there.  At Red Eye Brewing Company in Wausau, Thao told me how he enjoys the job he’s held for several years now.

The owners and managers of businesses like these recognize ways to maximize the value that people like Brady, Joe, and Thao bring to the equation, by focusing on their abilities, instead of their disabilities.

It really is a win-win situation – workers gain freedom, independence, and pride from a job well done, and employers gain good, quality workers, who help them improve their bottom line.

I recently announced a package of worker training bills, which includes an investment of $8.5 million for training and apprenticeship programs to pull in an additional $14 million in new federal funds for vocational rehabilitation programs – programs designed to help people with special needs get into the workforce. 

This is Disability Employment Awareness month, but the real value that comes from hiring people with disabilities is worth highlighting all year long.

The state partnered with the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association to produce and distribute a brief radio address once a week. Audio files and a written transcript of this radio address can be accessed on and To download an mp3 file, you can right click the radio address link and click “Save Link As.”