October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), celebrating the contributions of workers with disabilities and the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents.

Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin (SCWI) proudly practices these values every day through its Supported Employment program. Goodwill SCWI believes in the power of work to transform lives and create greater independence for individuals with barriers to employment.

Goodwill SCWI’s employment program supports more than 130 individuals with developmental disabilities, who are hired by local employers and assisted by Goodwill SCWI job coaches at no cost to the employers.

Dane County has recognized the performance of the supported employment program as the best in the state, adding “The supported employment program is led by a team of experienced professionals who have been successful in building relationships with local businesses [leading to] employment opportunities for clients formerly thought of as unlikely candidates for competitive employment.”

Employers agree, with Madison chef Evan Dannells describing his experience with supported employee David Brann, a 2017 Wisconsin Job Honors awardee.

“This is actually just an alternative labor force,” said Evan, “I can’t stress enough that it isn’t a free ride. David’s an actual employee who has actual expectations, and he’s productive.”

With unemployment at historic lows, more employers are finding that the enthusiastic and reliable workers they hire through Goodwill SCWI’s Supported Employment program fill much-needed roles in their businesses, becoming valued members of their respective work teams.

Goodwill SCWI is a local nonprofit operating 12 stores in the South Central region. The stores exist as the economic engine for Goodwill’s mission services, providing career guidance, supported employment and residential services to people with disabilities, mental health concerns and other barriers to employment and independent living.