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Wisconsin should be proud of an innovative project to help employ people with disabilities in a cutting-edge field.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Pathways to Independence program have launched a project to recruit, train and support individuals with disabilities in the field of document transfer and storage preparation.

Based on a Minnesota model that has led to job creation and business opportunities for hundreds of individuals with significant disabilities throughout Minnesota, the Wisconsin Digital Imaging Project aims to meet the digital transfer needs of private businesses, health care providers, schools and local governments.

Those needs are ever-increasing. The transfer of records from paper to digital files is a must in today’s world. This essential business practice can be labor intensive and costly. Some companies are off-shoring many aspects of the job, thereby missing a golden opportunity to benefit both their bottom lines and their communities.

The human capital these companies need is right here at home: People with disabilities offer a willing, eager and desirable work force.

Wisconsin Technology Council President Tom Still sees the value in tapping this work force, especially in the health care field. “With the continued explosion in the use of medical records technologies, there are many opportunities for skilled workers, including those with disabilities, to work in this field,” says Still.

Matching an underutilized but highly motivated work force with a strategic, urgent need is smart business. And these are good jobs for people especially well suited to them, jobs that provide the employees with vital independence and self-worth.

Smart business and good jobs mean real change. The Wisconsin Digital Imaging Project is one key to that change.

Christy, founder of Meaningful People, Places & Foods., works for Pathways to Independence on the Wisconsin Digital Imaging Project. Contact: pmproj@progressive.org.

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