I am a husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. I believe in sharing my talents and experiences by giving back to the community by giving my time to coaching, church and especially to the disability community. I truly believe that all men and women are created equally.
Dating back to 1945, October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/ndeam/)
There has been some focus on employment opportunities starting right here in Wisconsin. Back in early August, the National Governor’s Association (http://www.nga.org/cms/home/news-room/news-releases/2013-news-releases/col2-content/nations-governors-to-convene-for.html) came to Milwaukee. The first topic of conversation for the Governor’s was “A Better Bottom Line, Employing People with Disabilities (http://ci.nga.org/cms/home/1213/index).
Last week, a number of things occurred in regards to employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
Governor Walker announced as part of his jobs package, to fully fund the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). By seeking to fully fund DVR, this would eliminate the waiting list for individuals looking to utilize DVR services in their quest for competitive wage employment (http://www.hngnews.com/sun_prairie_star/news/regional/article_c52cc202-278d-11e3-8bb5-0019bb30f31a.html) I have worked with DVR on various projects and I know that they have the ability to help individuals find jobs. This additional funding is a welcome resource to ensure continued success.
I was invited to attend a meeting here in Milwaukee County with various agencies and employers to see what can be done to improving the lives of individuals with disabilities in our own community when it comes to employment.
I heard from representatives from the Department of Health Services (DHS) and DVR on their concerted focus and priorities when it comes to employment opportunties during the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (http://wi-bpdd.org/) bi-monthly meeting.
All of this focus on employment did not just happen. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the country have been working tirelessly to ensure that individuals with disabilities have the same opportunities of successful employment as everybody else does. Now that the awareness has been raised, it is time to ensure that these initiatives become reality.
**It was just announced that Wisconsin was awarded a Promise Grant (http://www.wisgov.state.wi.us/newsroom/press-release/wisconsin-awarded-325-million-federal-grant-prepare-youth-special-needs) This grant, covering 5 years and a total of $325 million dollars is designed to prepare youth with disabilities to succeed in the workforce. **