Partners with Business Basicsman working store

Governor Walker will sign Partners with Business into Law  – Act 323 – on April 16, 2018. Read the law here.

Read The Arc Wisconsin’s press release about Partners with Business here.

Why Partners with Business ?

People with disabilities want to work and employers want to hire these dependable, capable workers, but often the supports the employee and employer need to get started are not there. A business does not know where to turn. Partners with Business is a model that has worked successfully in Dane County and other communities statewide to support private industry to build their capacity to hire workers with disabilities. In Dane County alone Partners with Business has resulted in significant cost-savings (up to 50%) to government programs.

Partners with Business is a cost-effective model that is less intrusive to the flow of business than bringing in an outside provider and helps the employee with a disability acclimate to the job setting and culture by learning directly from a peer colleague.

What does the Partners with Business Law do?

The Partners with Business law creates a Partners with Business pilot building upon the success of Partners with Business operations in Dane County. The PWB model supports an employer to enhance the responsibility (and sometimes even the wage) of an existing employee who then becomes a job coach to a co-worker with a disability.

The law provides a small amount of time-limited funding ($75,000/year for 2 years) to help businesses statewide learn how to implement PWB. The Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities will provide targeted coaching to up to 10 grantees.

“Coaching,” under this law, is providing specific, targeted supports to a business, school district, or vocational agency that demonstrates how coworkers can provide the support an employee with a disability needs, over time eliminating the need for a professional job coach or other individual (typically funded by the government) from outside of the employer.

The law requires reporting on various items, including wages earned, hours worked, and the reduction in public spending on employment supports for the individuals with disabilities participating in the project by a minimum of 25 percent.

Who is eligible for Partners with Business Grants?

  • Public schools
  • Managed Care Organizations that administer Family Care or Family Care Partnership
  • IRIS Consultant agencies
  • Employment services providers
  • Private businesses

Expect to see this technical assistance and grant announcements coming out from BPDD in 2018.

Here is one example of Partners with Business Success: 

partners with business example chart

See additional materials from Lets Get to Work on the Partners with Business model.