For Immediate Release: January 23, 2019picture of a 3 panel brochure - innovative support services

Racine, WI — The Arc Wisconsin is partnering with a leading employment services provider in Racine as part of a unique national project to support people with disabilities to get jobs. Specifically, Innovative Support Services (ISS) has been awarded The Arc@Work Innovative Approaches to Community-Based Employment Initiative Grant with a goal of supporting a minimum of 50 people to complete job readiness training with at least 16 getting jobs by the end of the project in June.

“We are going into the schools and helping students with their goal-setting and developing their resumes,” says Connie Gardner, Co-Owner, Innovative Support Services. “Each student who completes The Arc@Work Racine program will leave with connections to resources and understanding the accommodations they need. Many will be on their way to a job.”

The Arc@Work Racine project is part of the national Arc@Work program that is operating in several states with the goal of developing innovative workforce solutions, connecting employers with talented employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities and supporting business’ recruitment, on-boarding, and retention process.

“This is an important project for Racine given the community’s high unemployment rate and historical poor outcomes for youth with disabilities,” says Lisa Pugh, Executive Director of The Arc Wisconsin.

The Arc@Work Racine project is also open to adults with disabilities seeking extra income or those looking to boost their employability.

Racine’s November 2018 unemployment rate reported by the Bureau for Labor Statistics was 3.1%, higher than most of the state. According to Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction data (2015-16), only 40 percent of Racine youth with disabilities were employed one year after leaving high school, compared to 64.27% statewide.

“Employment participation rates for people with disabilities have always been low nationally and throughout Wisconsin, including Racine,” says Pugh. “Even in a strong economy we are seeing an unemployment rate for people with disabilities that is more than double that of those without disabilities.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites a December 2018 labor force participation rate of 20.7 for workers with disabilities compared to 68.4 for those without disabilities.

“The Arc@Work Racine is for anyone with a developmental disability who is interested in exploring employment interests and options, gathering the tools needed for a successful job search and landing a job,” says Erin Genrich, Co-Owner, Innovative Support Services. “We are actively looking for applicants for this project.”

People who sign up to participate in The Arc@Work Racine and qualify will be able to participate in interest exploration activities and learn about SMART Goal setting, personal and community supports, self-advocacy, resume and cover-letter writing, interviewing practice and employment expectations.

The Arc@Work Racine project is sponsored by the Walmart Foundation in collaboration with The Arc of the United States and The Arc Wisconsin. The goal of the project is to connect organizations with people and services that increase the diversity, productivity, and quality of their overall workforce.

If you are interested in learning more about or participating in The Arc@Work Racine project, contact Connie or Erin at Innovative Support Services at (262)-989-3504 or at

Learn more about The Arc@Work here:


The Arc Wisconsin advocates for and serves people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD), including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc Wisconsin has 15 local chapters and is connected to a network of more than 650 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.


Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.