Gov. Walker wants to boost funding to train students with disabilities

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Governor Walker stopped at the Saint Vincent Hospital in Green Bay on Monday today to highlight the success of Project Search. It's a training program that helps students with disabilities transition into the workforce. The governor is hoping to expand this kind of initiative in his upcoming budget.

St Vincent Hospital exterior sign

“This is not about charity, this is about identifying the abilities that people have as opposed to focusing on a disability,” said Governor Walker.

Walker says over the last fiscal year more than 4,600 people with disabilities entered the Wisconsin workforce.

“Wisconsin last year in 2016 is now on the top ten states in the nation for employing people with disabilities, that's a great mark to be at in fact we don't just want to be in the top 10 we want to soon be at number one,” said Walker.

In his new budget, the governor is proposing $185 million in funding over two years for the Department of Workforce Development. Its Division of Vocational Rehabilitation helps people with disabilities get jobs in our state.

“Project Search provides a very positive skills based work learning environment that enables these students to go out and find employment,” said Steve Maricque, President of the Bellin Health Foundation.

Governor Walker along with other supporters of Project Search think by expanding it we are keeping the state's workforce strong.

“We cannot leave anybody on the sidelines, so it integrates, and helps us integrate a population, that has for too long I think been forgotten,” said Ray Allen, Wisconsin Secretary of Workforce Development.

The Project Search site in Green Bay is one of 25, but Governor Walker's goal is to have one in every area possible across the state.