Release:  6 January 2020

Valley Packaging Industries, Inc. Awarded Grant from  

U.S. Venture/Schmidt Family Foundation, Inc.

Valley Packaging Industries, Inc. (VPI) rang in the new year with a grant award from U.S. Venture/Schmidt Family Foundation, Inc. for its high school-to-employment transition services and programs.

These programs prepare young adults with disabilities and disadvantages to gain and maintain competitive, integrated, community employment. VPI provides high school students with intensive services and programs: VPI Summer Employment Skills Training, Project SEARCH (PS), and other individualized services on community employers’ campuses, ranging 2-12 months in duration.

VPI skills instructors work with Intern Site mentors to support the students. Students experience mentor-based training, multiple internships, job coaching, classroom skills instruction, career planning guidance, and employment placement services.

Collaborative partners include Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital, Kimberly-Clark, Appleton Area School District, Neenah Joint School District, VPI employment specialists and skills instructors, the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), and dozens of other community employers.

VPI’s programs are significantly more effective in leading students with disabilities to competitive employment than those who do not receive these services. VPI holds the license for and administers Project SEARCH (PS), as the only provider in Outagamie County. The PS graduate employment rate is 70.2% (WI DVR, 2017) compared to the national 19.1% rate for people with disabilities (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2/26/19).

The grant will help fund program growth to serve twice as many high school students with disabilities in 2020 over 2019.

Valley Packaging Industries (VPI), a nonprofit organization, served more than 2,700 individuals and families with Rehabilitation Services programs and/or employment opportunities in 2019. VPI provides education, human services, and vocational skills training to Fox Valley residents with disabilities and/or disadvantages. VPI’s two production facilities provide custom packaging and manufacturing services to regional manufacturers to generate funding and training opportunities. VPI collaborates with funding foundations, educational institutions, community employers, and service organizations to accelerate rehabilitation service program growth.