BRILLION – Professional Plating, Inc. (PPI) has made an effort to hire job seekers with disabilities through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). Last week, they were recognized for it. 

PPI General Manager Larry Dietz was presented with the Exemplary Employer Award from the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Assistant Deputy Secretary B.J. Dernbach in a special presentation last Wednesday, Oct. 24. 

Dietz’s message for new employees is simple. 

“If you bring your head and you bring your heart we can teach you anything,” Dietz said. “They’re re- sponsible to basically make sure that the culture points and expectations and processes are being repeated.” 

PPI is one of two manufacturers receiving the award in this region of the state as part of Disability Employment Awareness Month in Wisconsin in October. 

“It isn’t any different. We don’t treat anybody any different, whether they have a disability, or whether they’ve never worked in manufacturing. We’ve taken in a lot of people and I know we’re pretty damn proud of all the success stories, and we should be,” Dietz said. 

Members of the DWD accom- panied Dietz on a tour of the facility prior to the award. DWD is a talent development agency that connects employers with workers. They also assist with those with disabilities in the employment process, social skills and other developments. Their goal, they say, is to give them the same opportunity as anyone else. 

DWD works with 16,000 people with disabilities at any given time and have helped 28,000 receive jobs. Dernbach says a lot of the work has taken place since Governor Scott Walker took office. 

“We’ve been trying to shift the focus with employers to say it’s not about their disabilities, it’s about what their abilities are. What can they do and what can we do to mitigate some of those other areas,” Dernbach said. 

Dernbach says at PPI, that conversation is already finished. 

“That’s already in the culture (at PPI). That’s the fight we’ve been trying to have with a lot of companies to let them know, hey, these are valuable employees,” Dernbach said.