CONTACT: Emily Kumlien
MADISON, Wis. – UW Health has been chosen as a recipient of the 2018 National Disability Exemplary Employer Award.
It is awarded by the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and is given to employers who show a strong commitment to employ the disabled population with regard to accommodation, inclusion, integration and competitive wages.
The Williams S. Middleton Veterans Memorial Hospital and UW Health are the only two employers in the state honored.
UW Health is part of a national program called Project SEARCH. The goal of the project is to provide vocational training opportunities that will lead to employment in the community. Interns work at the hospital and potentially get hired after their training as valuable members of the team.
Locally, the Madison project SEARCH includes: UW Health, William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, Madison Metropolitan School District, Wisconsin Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, Dane County Adult Community Services, and Madison Area Rehabilitation Centers.
The Madison chapter has 95 graduates from the program since it began in 2008. UW Health has hired 11 interns, with three more in the process. They are hired for positions such as dishwasher in culinary services, reception/clerical work and direct patient care like nursing and certified nursing assistant (CNA).
In 2017, the Madison chapter interns had an overall 92 percent placement rate into permanent employment of at least 16 hours per week. That is compared to the Project SEARCH national average of 70 percent. The national average of employment for people with disabilities is only 19 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
UW Health’s goal is to build a sold workforce that includes people with disabilities. “This award is a recognition that UW Health is committed to community service. At UW Health we believe that our employees should mirror those that they serve, “said Bob Scheuer, business liaison for Project SEARCH at UW Health. “Our patients and visitors observe that we support members of our community that may have barriers to employment.”