Wisconsin Resources for Disability Employment Help


If you’ve lost your job due to a new disability, you may feel isolated and on your own. The fact is, however, 26% of respondents to a recent SafetyNet™ survey have been unable to bring in an income due to job loss, illness or disability over the last 5 years. It may seem surprising, but 20% of the U.S. labor force is made up of people with disabilities. In short, you are not alone. If your disability is permanent and will require accommodations from future employers, rest assured there are programs around the state and beyond that can provide you with guidance, support and resources to help you explore new ways to earn an income through a meaningful and fulfilling new career.

Below is a starter-pack guide for employment resources for job seekers with disabilities in Wisconsin. A visit to the U.S. Department of Labor’s disability website will provide you with links to national programs and initiatives.

Employment Resources and Services for People with Disabilities

Wisconsin’s Aging and Disability Resource Center

  • If looking for a one-stop-shop, start with the Wisconsin’s Aging and Disability Resource Center and search for the center nearest you. Some, like the ADRC of Dane County, have a website with resources right on it. They all provide contact information for you to call or email for more information. As part of the Department of Health Services, the ADRC’s counselors are equipped to provide you with free, unbiased and current information and assistance about a range of programs and services including housing, healthcare and employment and training. Their benefit counselors can also help you apply for federal programs like FoodShare and Medicaid.

Wisconsin’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)

  • Wisconsin’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), as part of a network of programs out of the U.S. Department of Education, is the state’s primary provider of employment services to people with disabilities. DVR’s free services will help you assess your strengths and identify the accommodations you will need from an employer. They also provide career counseling and vocational training and assist you with job searches, job placement and even transportation.

Ticket to Work Program (TTW)

Job Search Resources Specifically for People with Disabilities

Before starting your job search, you’ll need to take the time to think about what kind of jobs you really want and then update your resume accordingly. Career assistance and job placement services specifically for job searchers with disabilities can make for a smooth transition.

  • The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is a free consulting service that can help you develop a personalized strategy to help you find a meaningful job and give you tips on how to request accommodations from your employer. Housed in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, JAN is not a job placement service, but it does provide excellent job seeking resources including this 4-step job search guide.
  • Gettinghired.com and Recruit Disability are searchable sites specifically for job seekers with disabilities. Search your city and state to find local postings.
  • ABILITY Jobs is the opposite kind of job site—it is designed to advertise job seekers with disabilities to potential employers. Here, you post your resume on their site for free and employers recruit you.
  • Disabled Person allows you to both post your resume and search jobs by location.

Policy and Advocacy Regarding Disability Employment

Knowing your rights as a person with disabilities can assuage your doubts and concerns. Here’s where to turn when you need information and advocacy.

  • The ADA Wisconsin Partnership site will help you navigate resources and services available to you on a state and federal level when it comes to getting to know your rights and having an advocate.
  • Disability Rights Wisconsin is a private, nonprofit organization that is independent from government services to remain impartial. As part of a national network, their mission is to help people across Wisconsin gain access to services and opportunities through its advocacy and legal expertise.
  • The Wisconsin Department of Health Services devotes a page to statewide initiatives designed to lower the barriers to employment and other opportunities faced by people with disabilities. These programs are generally designed to incentivize employers toward “integrated employment,” however the information will provide you with an overview of employment policies, programs and the state’s guiding principles when it comes to helping people with long-term disabilities overcome employment challenges.
  • On the federal level, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission site provides comprehensive information about the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), including legal definitions, anti-discrimination initiatives and information about rights to accommodation and employment. Dedicated to policy and advocacy, this page on the National Council on Disability site links to programs pertaining to housing, health, transportation, employment and other advocates that are likely to be found on a local level. Finally, should you find yourself struggling to receive support from services that are funded under the Rehabilitation Act, the Client Assistance Program (CAP) will assist you.

While each individual’s disability comes with unique challenges, the government, private organizations and employers around the country are committed to helping you acquire the support you need—including career counseling, supplemental funding and meaningful employment—so you can once again secure a steady paycheck. Ask for help with making a plan and know that you are valued. Everyone deserves the right to work.