Grassroots Initiatives Expand Employment Opportunities
Throughout Wisconsin, BPDD's Community Action Teams (CATs) are working with local communities to help expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
BPDD is part of the statewide Wisconsin Employment First Initiative that aims to improve the state’s economy by getting more people with disabilities jobs in the community. Organizations received CAT grants to engage in grassroots efforts to expand integrated-employment options for people with disabilities in local communities.
A CAT is comprised of individuals and members of organizations that include advocacy groups, self-advocates, family members, legislators, employers, employment service providers, educators, and funding agencies. CATs are organized by grassroots Employment First advocates who want to partner with others in their area to promote Employment First principles and practices to help achieve increased integrated-employment outcomes on a regional or local level.
CATs are responsible for day-to-day planning, direction, and oversight of the regional/local Employment First activities. This includes developing an annual action plan to achieve locally-determined goals and objectives to increase the number of people with disabilities who hold integrated jobs.
Below are the current CAT projects taking place around Wisconsin.
Staff from Lincoln High School and a local Transition Action Committee (TAC) helped this team start a Jobs First! Campaign last fall in partnership with UW-Manitowoc. Check out their Jobs First! of Manitowoc County video. (pictured above)
This team works in collaboration with the West Allis school district and staff from Creative Employment Opportunities to engage students in career exploration through job shadows and work experience.
Employees at Lakeside Curative lead this team that formed before the grant and has since coordinated community conversations with the intent of forming workgroups to identify needs for progress and change.
Easter Seals and Brookfield East High School staff lead this team that works with the TAC in their area to plan an event titled, “Take Control of Your Employment,” for transition-aged youth with disabilities.
Led by Bridge for Hudson Youth, this team has held meetings and found success engaging employers to talk about the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities.
For more information about CATs, contact Ann Sievert at 608-267-9897 or firstname.lastname@example.org.