The Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (BPDD) has awarded a 2016 Employment First Partner grant to Lakeland Care based in Northeastern Wisconsin.
Lakeland Care plans to collaborate with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), local service providers, and the local school district to host a “flipped” job fair for individuals with disabilities. Instead of individuals coming to talk to employers on employment, the employers will be invited to come and talk with individuals with disabilities for onsite interviews. This job fair is designed to introduce a completely new untapped workforce to local employers. “Many Lakeland Care members have much to offer and want to work in their community,” said Katie Mnuk, Lakeland Care’s CEO. “This approach is a unique opportunity for employers to match their job needs with individuals’ skills.” Lakeland Care’s Employment Coordinator, Megan Acheson works closely with its employment providers, businesses, DVR, Lakeland Care Managers and members to make sure all possible opportunities are considered in our members’ quest for employment. To learn more about the “flipped” job fair, contact Megan Acheson at 920.906.5181.
“BPDD’s Employment First Partner grants are a great way to improve local economies and increase community employment options for people with disabilities,” said Beth Swedeen, BPDD Executive Director. “People know their own local communities and these grants provide the seed money and training to create real local changes that allow people with disabilities to more readily find employment in their communities.”
In Wisconsin, over 80% of working aged adults without disabilities are employed while only about 36% of working aged adults with disabilities are employed (DisabilityStatistics.org). However, research also shows that most people with disabilities do, in fact want to work.
BPDD has awarded grants to 15 organizations throughout the state to increase community, integrated employment opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The 15 organizations, including five schools, will engage in a variety of grassroots community activities including: hosting legislative breakfasts, conducting media campaigns, doing presentations to local civic groups, and holding recognition events for businesses that hire individuals with disabilities.
BPDD Employment First Partner Grants are kicked off in October to help celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This annual awareness campaign takes place each October. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. This year’s theme is “InclusionWorks.”
WI Employment First Partners are community groups and organizations that engage in outreach activities in their local community to expand integrated employment opportunities for people with disabilities. WI Employment First Partners receive small grants from BPDD to engage with their local communities to increase integrated employment opportunities.