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Organic Valley Supports ''Everybody Works: Vernon County Initiative''

Submitted by: Organic Valley

Categories: Human Resources & Diversity1

Posted: Nov 06, 2005 – 11:00 PM EST


Program offers Public-Private Partnership Model

Nov. 06 /CSRwire/ - Lafarge, Wis. - The launch of the "Everybody Works: Vernon County Initiative," a pioneering program for Vernon County businesses that enables people with disabilities to thrive in the workplace, was launched recently at a community event held at Organic Valley Family of Farms, the organic farmers cooperative that provided the seed money for the program.

The "Everybody Works: Vernon County Initiative" is the first known public-private partnership in the United States that provides funding for continual workplace coaching and support for people with disabilities. The idea for the initiative grew out of a consortium of local organizations that were concerned about shrinking county funding to assist people with disabilities in the workplace. The consortium includes the Employment Partnerships, Inc., Division of Vocation Rehabilitation, Employment Partnerships, The Vernon County Department of Human Services, Viroqua Area Schools and VARC Inc.

"The 'Everybody Works: Vernon County Initiative' is an excellent example of how the public and private sectors can work together to help people with disabilities," said Jerry McGeorge, Director of Cooperative Affairs, Organic Valley. "We believe this partnership will serve as an inspirational model that can be replicated by other communities throughout the country."

McGeorge presented a check for $10,000 to Daniel Chotzen, Employment Partnerships, Inc.; Anthony Shay, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation; Jean Klousia, Vernon County Human Services; and Celane Mc Whorter, Executive Director of APSE, the non-profit organization that is the fiscal coordinator of program.

Also on hand were: Kim Littel, Pupil Services Director, Viroqua (Wisconsin) Area Schools; Amy Grotzke, District Director for Division of Vocational Rehabilitation; Lee Nerison, State Representative; Marjorie Bunce representing U.S. Senator Herb Kohl; and Brad Pfaff, representing U.S. Representative Ron Kind.

Organic Valley is committed to providing quality employment, cooperation, organic education, and community growth. Over the past few years, it has worked with the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and related organizations to place people with disabilities into state-reimbursable work experiences at Organic Valley headquarters in LaFarge. It has provided five work experiences to people with disabilities, three of which resulted in permanent employment.

Organic Valley is one of America's leading national organic brands and is the largest independent and farmer-owned organic dairy cooperative. It represents 700 organic family farmers in 22 states. Stewards of the earth who use nature as their teacher, Organic Valley farmers produce organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce, juice and meat sold in food cooperatives, natural foods stores and supermarkets throughout the country. For further information, contact Organic Valley at 1-888-444-MILK or visit

For more information, please contact:

Sue McGovern McGovern Communications
Phone: 781 648 7157
Molly Gaines Haberman Inc.
Phone: 612 372 6454

For more from this organization:

Organic Valley


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