Wisconsin Family CareAs available tax resources keep shrinking, state government officials have been exploring ways to clip costs in order to balance their budgets.

So it is no shock the budget ax has fallen upon programs like Family Care, which provides a long-term care system for Wisconsin residents with disabilities. The problem is recent cuts facing some clients within the system appear to be excessive and unwarranted, and thus life changing . . .

Those entrusted with the state’s Family Care system need to take a step back and start using a bit more common sense and empathy when making decisions that impact those in their care. Any funding decisions should put people first, and not dollars first.

Read more here.

ACCESS - Voice of Disability Service ProvidersACCSES represents individuals, families, community leaders and businesses, all united to support persons with disabilities and protect their place in the mainstream of their activities, organizations and communities.

Russel WeisenselRuss was recognized as Wisconsin Handicapped Person of the Year in 1968, by the UW-River Falls Honorary Recognition in 1993, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Honorary Recognition in 1997. He was a life-long member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, member of MARC, Dane County Day Care Services Board, Lions Club, Knights of Columbus and past President of the Easter Seals Society.

Read more at the Wisconsin State Journal.

ACCESSACCSES Position Paper on the Array of Approaches for Enhancing Employment Opportunities for Persons with Significant Disabilities

WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, ACCSES released its position paper on The Array of Approaches for Enhancing Employment Opportunities for Persons with Significant Disabilities: Principles, Positions, and Recommendations.  On behalf of the people with significant disabilities we serve, ACCSES endorses a full array of meaningful employment-related opportunities, options, and choices for individuals with the most significant disabilities, including enhanced opportunities to work in competitive integrated employment (at or above the minimum or prevailing wage), self-employment, and employment opportunities in skill development centers and disability-focused non-profit businesses.

Additionally, ACCSES is calling for:

  • Improved funding systems change initiatives;
  • New research and demonstration projects; 
  • Incentivizing the adoption and utilization of best practices; 
  • Increasing the focus, emphasis, and priority on youth with disabilities across all systems and agencies; 
  • Expanding and improving the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance Act; 
  • Improving the workforce delivery infrastructure;
  • Expanding the focus on employer and business-related outreach initiatives; 
  • Directing the Department of Labor to effectively implement and enforce affirmative action programs under Section 501 and 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, including changes in the Section 503 regulations to include goals and timetables; 
  • Modernizing and more fully utilizing the AbilityOne program and expanding the utilization of State Use programs; 
  • Enforcing existing laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act; and 
  • Utilizing accredited providers and qualified rehabilitation professionals in the delivery of employment services and supports. 

ACCSES recognizes that some individuals with significant disabilities may not be able to meet standards and perform the essential functions of a job (with or without reasonable accommodation) and as a result are not currently employable at the federal or state minimum wage or prevailing wage.  In order to enable such individuals to work and receive the benefits of working, ACCSES supports the continuation of Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which allows the payment of skills-based wages that are commensurate with their level of productivity.

ACCSES looks forward to working with our partners, Members of Congress and their staff, as well as Executive Agency staff to work toward implementing these recommendations in the coming year.

Midwest Works B2B LaunchesMadison, Wis., – On November 28, Thomas Cook, executive director, Rehabilitation for Wisconsin in Action, announced the launch of the Midwest Works web portal to help improve the bottom line of small-to-large-size manufacturers through outsourcing work that isn't cost-efficient for the companies to do in-house to Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs).

The web portal features a searchable data base that manufacturers can use to look for CRPs by their geographic area, their organization name, or by the products and services the CRPs offer.  The portal also includes an interactive map that can be used to locate the CRPs closest to manufacturing plants or distribution centers.

Contracts with CRPs can be short or long term.  CRPs have very high production and assembly standards and can meet contract specifications with the ability to configure their facilities, services, and equipment to meet customer needs. Another reason for Wisconsin’s manufacturers to consider outsourcing work to CRPs is the Tax Credit that is available to support the employment of people with disabilities.

Visitors to the Midwest Works web site might also be interested in purchasing gifts for their customers or their employees from a CRP.  For example, the Wisconsin Innovation Kitchen has gift baskets that can be individualized with the Hodan Community Services’ famous Farmhouse Recipes and other products.  Baskets make great corporate Christmas gifts and there are a variety of choices and price options available.   Interested parties can call the Kitchen directly with inquiries:   608-987-3558. 

Wisconsin’s CRPs provide employment opportunities to thousands of people with disabilities and economic disadvantages.  Rehabilitation for Wisconsin in Action represents CRPs and other organizations that provide employment and community living services.

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