Madison, Wis., – Following Governor Walker's State of the State speech on Wednesday, January 22, Board members of RFW in Action, the statewide association of community rehabilitation programs, praised Governor Walker for making the employment of people with disabilities a top priority with his proposal for a Better Bottom Line initiative.  In his State of the State speech, Governor Walker said he borrowed the idea from Governor Jack Markell, who made employment of people with disabilities his signature initiative as the NGA Chair.

Past RFW in Action Board President Barb LeDuc thanked the governor for increasing public awareness of the value people with disabilities add to the workplace of employers, large and small.  "By recognizing great employees like Patrick Young, Brady Dockendorf, Joe Nueman, and Steven Pils, Governor Walker put a face on the wonderful opportunity that the state of Wisconsin has to help employers address their unmet staffing needs.  We want to thank Governor Walker for his leadership and his focus on the unique abilities of the people whoOpportunities, Inc. and similar programs assist businesses in hiring every day." 

Newly-elected RFW in Action Board member Jackie Wells noted the efforts being made by six agencies in the Milwaukee area (Life Navigators, the Milwaukee Center for Independence, United Cerebral Palsy of Southeastern Wisconsin, Easter Seals Disability Services, Vision Forward Association and Curative Care Network) to work with the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) in matching up people with disabilities with employers who need the skills they bring to the workplace.  "By forming the Disabilities Solutions Collaborative in October 2013, we committed our organizations to work together so that every person with a disability who is looking for a job will benefit from the connections we are making on their behalf with the business community.  The governor's initiative will give a real boost to our efforts."

John Bloor, Vice President of the RFW in Action Board of Directors, invited Governor Walker to speak at the Aging and Disability Policy Forum, to be held in Green Bay on April 30, 2014, the day before employment specialists from around the state will gather for the annual Rehabilitation and Transition Conference.  "As a member of the Conference Planning Committee, I am eagerly awaiting Governor Walker's response to the speaking invitation we have extended to him so that he can share his enthusiasm for this great initiative.  The conference's keynote speakers in the past included John Kemp, the former Executive Director of the USBLN, who inspired Community Rehabilitation Programs and other conference goers to work more closely with the business community.  The members of RFW in Action pledge our support for the governor's Better Bottom Line initiative, which will help in this regard.  We hope to do even more in 2014 to bring together the advocacy community, providers, and legislators with the goal of increasing the participation of people with disabilities in the workforce."

Wisconsin's Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) provide center-based and community-based training and employment opportunities to thousands of people with disabilities and economic disadvantages.  Rehabilitation for Wisconsin in Action is a statewide association that represents CRPs and other organizations that provide training, employment, and community living services.

(original press release)

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