August 30, 2019 | The North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (NCWWDB), in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), delivered a summer youth employment program for high school youth with disabilities. The goal of this program, titled LifeWork$, is for students to develop the foundation needed for successful employment in the future. Students begin in community-based classrooms where they learn employability, self-advocacy, and independent living skills, as well as financial education and career exploration. LifeWork$ students then explore careers and learn valuable, hands-on work skills while earning a wage during a five-week individualized at-work experience with area businesses.
Participating businesses benefit from the program by gaining highly motivated young workers at no cost to them. In return, they teach work skills and lend worksite support to each participant. While these businesses make a valuable contribution to the workforce pipeline, the next generation of workers gains the skills and experience needed for successful future employment.
In 2019, LifeWork$ received over 50 referrals. Onboarding sessions took place with the students and their families in April and May. After onboarding, 45 students took part in two-week classroom sessions located in Adams, Wisconsin Rapids, Marshfield, Stevens Point, and Wausau. Of the 45 participating students, 44 then engaged in temporary work opportunities at 34 businesses, some with the assistance of on-site mentors. Worksites were in several industries including local government, libraries, grocery, retail, health care, restaurants, bakeries, automotive, agriculture, hotels, and childcare. On the last day of the program, a celebration was held for the students in each community, who enjoyed a morning of fun reviewing their worksite experiences and eating pizza.
The North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board thanks the businesses, parents, youth participants, and program facilitators for their efforts and dedication that made the Summer 2019 LifeWork$ program a great success.
The North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board is a private, nonprofit corporation with a mission to develop and retain a skilled workforce which meets the changing needs of regional employers and promotes economic growth. NCWWDB also administers the federal Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) employment and training programs for Adults, Youth, and Dislocated Workers and oversees the Job Center system in North Central Wisconsin. It serves the Counties of Adams, Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Oneida, Portage, Vilas, and Wood. To visit NCWWDB’s website go to www.ncwwdb.org.