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Gov. Walker seeking $800k to expand job training for disabled workers

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin lawmakers will be asked to spend $800,000 to expand an on the job training program for employees with disabilities.

The Republican Walker mentioned the effort in his State of the State address last week.

Walker wants to expand the program from seven companies to 27 in the next three years. The governor promises to highlight companies and groups which help people with disabilities, as he speaks around the state.

Walker is also telling state agencies to help shore up public and private efforts to improve job opportunities for the disabled. Disability Rights Wisconsin says about nine percent of the state's workforce is made up of people with disabilities -- but their employment is only a-third of others, and they make an average of 30 percent less.

When he unveiled his plans to lawmakers, Walker introduced the person who inspired them.

Patrick Young, who has Down's syndrome, challenged the governor to put together a specialized box as fast as he could at a plant in Menomonee Falls. Walker fumbled the job, while Young completed it in only a few seconds.

Advocates for the disabled say the Walker program is not charity -- it's about helping businesses with their bottom lines, and helping the state get the most from its labor force.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)