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Platteville – Governor Scott Walker visited Benvenuto’s Italian Grill in Platteville today to meet with  Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) consumer, Olivia Bartelme. During the visit, Governor Walker highlighted the importance of DVR programs and the value of providing people with disabilities the opportunity to contribute to the local economy.

“In 2014, we proclaimed the Year of A Better Bottom Line to encourage and promote employment opportunities for Wisconsinites with disabilities,” Governor Walker said. “Benvenuto’s recognizes that individuals with disabilities have a unique set of abilities and strengths that not only benefit their restaurant, but the community as a whole as well.”

In 2015, 4,875 individuals with disabilities successfully reached their employment goal and entered the workforce with the help of DVR, which is the highest rate in more than 15 years.

Benvenuto’s Italian Grill in Platteville has been open for about three and a half years. Shortly after their opening, the restaurant was approached by Hodan Community Services about the possibility of hiring an individual through the Supported Employment Program. Benvenuto’s agreed to partner, and ended up hiring three individuals from DVR’s Supported Employment program, Youth On-the-Job Training hiring initiative, and Direct Placement program.

“Individuals with disabilities receive training and resources they need to succeed in our workforce, so they can earn a competitive wage, gain confidence, and develop marketable skills in the process,” Governor Walker added.

The DVR provides employment services and counseling to people with disabilities, provides or arranges for services to enable an individual to go to work, and provides training and technical assistance to employers regarding disability employment issues. More than 16,000 job-seekers with disabilities have actively engaged with DVR in an Individualized Plan for Employment since it was formed.