A bill spurred by a nationwide push to get more people with disabilities employed recently received a public hearing in both houses of the Wisconsin legislature.
Called "Employment First", the legislation requires the several agencies that work with people with disabilities to collaborate better and develop a joint plan to assist people with disabilities to find employment in the community.
The Senate sponsor of the bill is Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst. He outlines how the bill works...
"....it directs state agencies, like the Dept. of Health Services, and the Dept. of Public Instruction, to coordinate their efforts to get maximum benefits for those with disabilities. Wisconsin has been quite successful in getting more people with disabilities into the workforce. And they're turning out to be good workers. There's just not a good coordination between these state agencies sometimes....."
Wisconsin has been a leader with employing persons with disabilities, but to date 41 percent of working-age Wisconsin residents with disabilities are employed. Tiffany said a strong contingent of people from the north attended the hearing...
"...there was a resounding response to the bill from disability advocates as well as those with disabilities. It was a pleasure to have them in Madison to testify and tell the story why this is important...."
Democratic Representative Jimmy Anderson of Fitchburg is a sponsor in the Assembly.
Tiffany says he's confident there's enough support to get the bill to Governor Walker's desk.