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Project SEARCH is a business led collaboration that helps young people with disabilities gain and maintain employment through hands-on training and in-field career exploration.

“A strong Wisconsin workforce is a diverse one – one that celebrates the unique abilities of each and every employee, including those with disabilities. Removing obstacles to employment for people with disabilities is a win-win. It benefits businesses, individuals with disabilities, their families, and the public at large. By helping our workers with disabilities gain the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in the workplace through programs like Project SEARCH, we’re improving businesses’ bottom line and spurring growth throughout the state.” – Governor Scott Walker

Finding Success with Project SEARCH

  • Over 190 individuals with disabilities are set to graduate from Project SEARCH in 2018.
  • Since its inception, more than 800 individuals with disabilities have graduated from the statewide program.
  • Wisconsin has one of the best Project SEARCH success rates in the country, with 88% of graduates finding employment immediately or soon after graduation.
  • At the 2017 Project SEARCH National Conference, Wisconsin received 11 awards in recognition of high employment rates and successful outcomes among graduates.

Expanding the Program Statewide

  • Project SEARCH has significantly expanded in Wisconsin under Governor Walker, growing from a single site during the 2010-2011 school year to 24 sites during the 2017-2018 school year.
  • By Fall 2018, Wisconsin will be home to 27 active Project SEARCH sites, helping even more young adults with disabilities receive the training they need to enter the workforce.

Investing in a Diversified Workforce

  • Thanks to continued investments in workforce development and statewide programs like Project SEARCH, Wisconsin ranks above the national average for hiring people with disabilities, according to the Annual Disability Statistics Compendium.
  • The 2017-2019 biennial budget includes several initiatives to promote further employment for people with disabilities, including $35 million to maintain the maximum federal funding for DWD’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). As a result, the total funding for DVR is $185 million over the two-year budget.
  • The budget also invests $7.6 million in funding to support and expand programs that ensure students with disabilities gain the practical skills they need after high school. This includes $6.1 million to fund awards for school districts that successfully place students with disabilities in employment as well as $1.5 million to support the developments of school district efforts to connect students with disabilities with employment opportunities.