Wisconsin, group team to help disabled find work

  • Associated Press
  • March 24, 2014 - 12:01 PM

GREEN BAY, Wis. — A Wisconsin agency is teaming up with nonprofit group to try to change employers' negative perceptions about hiring disabled people and to help such people find permanent work.

Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation that will extend by 6,000 the number of people helped by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Press-Gazette Media reported ( ).

A northeastern Wisconsin nonprofit, N.E.W. Curative, is also providing training for specific types of work.

About 62 percent of working-age adults with disabilities were unemployed in Wisconsin when the latest data was released in 2011, according to census data. The DVR and N.E.W. Curative are trying to chip away at that high statistic.

"I think everybody with a disability should at least have a chance," said Carrie Hendricks, who has cerebral palsy. "I work hard. People look at people with disabilities like they can't do what most people do. And they can."

N.E.W. Curative finds permanent work for about 50 people a year, or about a third of those the group works with. Others focusing on the issue hope the recent momentum continues as the economy improves.

"I think people have an idea of what people with disabilities can or can't do," said Lisa Steffen, director of employment and training for N.E.W. Curative. "They have impressions of someone with a disability. But they can do work, it's a matter of finding a good fit."

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