RICE LAKE, WI -- When it comes to supporting individuals with disabilities, Marketplace Foods-Rice Lake Store Director Todd Brunner and the rest of the store's employees go out of their way to be accommodating and make sure that all workers are successful and work from their strengths.
The store has hired two individuals with disabilities in partnership with the Department of Workforce Development's Division Vocational Rehabilitation (DWD/DVR). Because of its diverse and inclusive hiring practices that welcome individuals with disabilities into its workforce, Marketplace Foods has been recognized as an Exemplary Employer with an award signed by Gov. Tony Evers. The store recently held a celebration event with remarks from Anna Eggebrecht, DVR's deputy director of consumer services, and DVR Business Services Consultant Tara Burns.
"Gov. Tony Evers and his administration have made it a priority to ensure that individuals with disabilities can access a full range of choices and opportunities when it comes to living and working in Wisconsin," said DWD Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek. "Wisconsin employers hiring people with disabilities aren't simply helping someone get a job; they are changing lives – the lives of those they employ, their family members, and of others in their community who see the work employers are doing and start believing that they can also be a part of something great."
At any given moment, DVR is working with 15,000 individuals around the state who are preparing themselves or ready to join the workforce. In Program Year 2021 alone, over 2,000 employers hired 3,500 consumers as a result of working with the Department of Workforce Development Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR).
The award is presented as Gov. Tony Evers has proclaimed the month of October Disability Employment Awareness Month in Wisconsin to highlight businesses that recruit and hire people with disabilities and encourage other businesses to provide opportunities for this skilled, dedicated and capable workforce.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month began 77 years ago in 1945, when Congress passed a law focusing on the first week of October. In 1988 Congress expanded the week to a month and selected the name National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Each year a theme is chosen by the Office of Disability Employment Policy under the U.S. Department of Labor.
Wisconsin employers are encouraged to contact DVR and meet with a DVR Business Services Consultant who can connect them to no-cost services that will help recruit qualified workers with disabilities, build staff diversity, retain well-trained employees, and access workforce planning resources.
Individuals with disabilities looking for assistance finding, keeping, or getting a better job can contact DVR at 800-261-0050 or learn more and apply for services on DVR's website.