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DVR Project Information

Current Projects

Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH is a business led collaboration that enables young adults with disabilities to gain and maintain employment through training and career exploration. A 9-12 month program, Project SEARCH provides total immersion in a large community business. Students with disabilities are offered a workforce alternative for their last year of high school. All participants must be eligible for services with the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). At some sites, young adults who have completed high school may be eligible to participate in Project SEARCH.

The Project SEARCH partnership includes a local high status business, a school, DVR, a vocational services agency and a disability services agency, such as a managed care organization. The business provides an on-site training classroom, business liaison and rotational internships for on the job training. The school provides an instructor. DVR works with a local vocational services agency to supply job coaches who support students in their internships as needed and assist with final job placement. The disability services agency provides follow along services for any eligible student who is hired at the business site or in the community.

Each day, students report to the host business, learn employability skills in the classroom and job skills through their internships (usually 3-4 internships during the year). Students are encouraged to use public transportation when available, just as they would when employed after high school. Students and their teams meet monthly for progress reports and to continually refine their career goals and determine concrete next steps. Managers from the host business work with the teacher and job coaches to support the students every step of the way, with an ultimate goal upon program completion being the students' competitive placements at the host business or in the community, based on the skills and experience learned in their Project SEARCH experiences.

Project SEARCH sites must be licensed by the flagship business, Cincinnati Children's Hospital, and must comply with standards of model fidelity (trademarked and copyrighted). Technical assistance is provided by the founders of Project SEARCH to ensure consistency in approach and data collection for this evidenced based program.


Vocational Rehabilitation for Native Americans (VRNA) and American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation (AIVR)

VRNA supports participants in their journey to lead independent lives through employment. The Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council (GLITC), acting as contract agent for the Section 121 Vocational Rehabilitation projects in the State of Wisconsin, and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to assist GLITC to expand and support its Section 121 Programs throughout Wisconsin. DVR will continue to provide necessary technical services to GLITC to help support its efforts to serve eligible individuals, including services to Native Americans living in urban areas of the State; e.g., Milwaukee, Madison, Black River Falls.

AIVR is a program designed to assist tribal governments to develop or to increase their capacity to provide a program of vocational rehabilitation services, in a culturally relevant manner, to American Indians with disabilities residing on or near federal or state reservations. The program's goal is to enable these individuals, consistent with their individual strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities and informed choice, to prepare for and engage in gainful employment. Program services are provided under an individualized plan for employment and may include native healing services. Wisconsin DVR has coordinated the training of AIVR staff and consumers that may be served by both programs.

DVR (WDA 7) is currently collaborating with Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) providing two consumers (who completed screening) opportunities to engage in a Train to Work model (incorporating soft and hard work skills) at the LCO casino. Discussions are underway to expand to other parts of the state (involving casinos as well as a Dental Clinic offering a multitude of possible positions for the Train to Work model.

Collaborative Project Guidelines

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