Drew's Piggly Wiggly employee Lee Garner teaches Governor Scott Walker how to do his job at the store.
Governor Scott Walker paid a visit to Drew’s Piggly Wiggly in Merrill today as a part of his year of A Better Bottom Line initiative and a part of Take Your Legislator to Work Campaign, organized by the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities. During this visit, Governor Walker worked side-by-side with Lee Garner, a Drew’s Piggly Wiggly employee, during his shift.
“Drew’s Piggly Wiggly recognizes that individuals of all abilities are an asset in the workplace environment,” Governor Walker said. “I’m thrilled I had the opportunity to be here with Lee and work with him today bagging groceries and stocking shelves. I was able to witness first-hand the positive impact that hiring employees with disabilities has on the employee and community as a whole. In providing the training and resources necessary, individuals with disabilities are able to work in their communities at a competitive wage, gaining confidence as well as marketable skills."
The year of A Better Bottom Line initiative is aimed at overcoming obstacles to employment for people with disabilities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nationwide unemployment rate of people with a disability was 13.2 percent in 2013, which is higher than the 7.1 percent unemployment rate for people without a disability. In order to overcome this hurdle, the DWD’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) Program was established in order to job seekers with disabilities in a specific training program to prepare them for employment.
DVR’s objective is to acquire, maintain and enhance employment for people with disabilities by working closely with consumers and employers. In 2013, 3,840 individuals with disabilities met their employment goal and entered the workforce in Wisconsin with an average wage of $12.43/hour.
2014 – Year of A Better Bottom Line:
•Governor Walker proclaimed 2014 as the Year of A Better Bottom Line to encourage and promote employment opportunities for people with disabilities. A Better Bottom Line is tailored after Delaware Governor Jack Markell’s initiative with the National Governor’s Association, which details the vast benefits for employers, employees, and communities.
•During the Year of A Better Bottom Line, Governor Walker is directing state agencies to focus on recognizing and promoting public and private programs, companies, and organizations that are improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities, including veterans and students.
•Under Governor Walker’s Blueprint for Prosperity, the state is expanding Project SEARCH, a program helping young people with disabilities transition from high school to the workplace. The expansion increases the number of participating businesses by 20, up from seven, over three years.
•Governor Walker signed legislation to increase the number of people served by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation by 6,000. This will allow the state to reduce or eliminate the waiting list of persons with disabilities seeking assistance with job skills training and advocacy, so they can enter the workforce.