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Hiring people with disabilities is good for business! In 2018 the Wisconsin Legislature passed the Partners with Business initiative. The goal is to help more businesses hire and support workers with disabilities. BPDD carries out this initiative.

Each year, BPDD selects grantees through an application process. These grantees get support to use best practices to train and support workers with disabilities. These strategies result in cost-effective and inclusive employment. They help businesses fill workforce shortages and diversify their teams.

We are seeking to partner with high schools interested in improving employer engagement practices and employment outcomes for young adults with disabilities in their Beyond 18 Transition programming.

Grant funds and technical assistance are available to implement capacity building strategies within their Beyond 18 transition services and with employers.

*Awardees can receive up to $5,000 to carry out capacity building activities.

We want to partner with businesses interested in hiring and supporting workers with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Grant funds and technical assistance are available. Check out the application (fillable PDF version; Spanish version; Hmong version) to learn more! Applications are due May 31st.

We must invest in our employment service staff so that they embody the values and skills needed to support people in competitive integrated employment (CIE). We partnered with WI APSE to develop a guide for Supported Employment Program Managers/Supervisors. This guide focuses on strategies and resources to help agencies create an organizational culture to support CIE including strategies for hiring staff, onboarding, training, and building partnerships.

What Is Partners with Business?

Partners with Business is an initiative that was passed by the Wisconsin Legislature in 2018 to assist businesses to hire and support workers with disabilities. 

Through the Partners with Business initiative, employers and supported employment service providers use best practice strategies to train and support workers with disabilities. If a worker needs additional support above and beyond what is typically provided by supervisors and coworkers, the employer can receive funding to provide this extra support.

Each year BPDD selects five Partners with Business grantees through a Request for Application process. These grantees receive guidance to implement Partners with Business strategies. Businesses, service providers, schools, Managed Care Organizations, and IRIS Consultant Agencies can apply for the Partners with Business grant.  

Resources for Businesses
  • Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR): DVR is an office within the Department of Workforce Development that connects qualified job applicants to employers through a variety of services, including resources for Internships and Temporary Work Experiences
  • A Guide to Creating Internal Supports in the Workplace: Provides best practices to develop a solid plan for recruiting, hiring, and supporting workers with disabilities. Developed by DisabilityIN: Wisconsin in partnership with BPDD. 
  • Disability:IN Wisconsin: A non-profit, non-partisan business-to-business network that raises awareness and works to advance, improve and expand employment for people with disabilities
  • Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN): Provides comprehensive resources for employers to learn how to recruit, hire, retain and advance employees with disabilities
  • Job Accommodation Network (JAN): Provides information, resources and free consultation for businesses about workplace accommodations. Ask JAN. They can help.
Tools for Schools