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Legislature to review proposal aimed at helping more people to get healthy, enter workforce

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker approved a plan to implement drug screening for able-bodied adults participating in the FoodShare Employment and Training (FSET) program, sending the rule change measure to the State Legislature for review. The rule is part of the policy amendments included in 2015 Wisconsin Act 55, and supports Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to help people move from government dependence to true independence.

“A key component of Wisconsin’s Workforce Agenda, which we unveiled last week, is removing barriers to employment,” Governor Walker said. “Employers have jobs available, but they need skilled workers who can pass a drug test.  This rule change means people battling substance use disorders will be able to get the help they need to get healthy, and get back into the workforce.” 

The Legislature has up to 120 days to review the measure, and once approved, it will be published in the Administrative Register where it will become effective the first day of the next month. After which, the Department of Health Services (DHS) will work collaboratively with stakeholders on policy and systems development to implement the rule.

Under the rule, able-bodied adults participating in the FSET program are subject to drug screening and, if necessary, a drug test. Those who test positive will have the opportunity to get treatment, regardless of the ability to pay, so they can get healthy. Healthy citizens create a stronger workforce by helping employers fill jobs that require passing a drug test. This initiative also supports Wisconsin’s efforts to be on the forefront in the fight against the opioid epidemic.

Under Governor Walker, Wisconsin has invested more than $60 million in the FoodShare Employment and Training program to help people overcome the barriers to employment. In Wisconsin, able-bodied adults ages 18-49 are required to participate in FSET, or another eligible worker training program, or work at least 80 hours per month to maintain eligibility for the FoodShare program. Since the work requirement began in April 2015, more than 20,000 people in the state have transitioned to the workforce.

For more information about the proposed rule (referred to as DHS 38) visit the DHS website.

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