FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 13, 2017
Contact:
Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683
Elizabeth Goodsitt, 608-266-1683

Wisconsin Works for Everyone: DHS Submits Report for Proposed Rule for Drug Testing Able-Bodied Adults Participating in the FoodShare Employment and Training Program

Helping more people to get healthy, enter workforce

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) submitted a report to the Governor’s Office to create a new rule relating to drug testing for able-bodied adults participating in the FoodShare Employment and Training program. The proposed rule is part of the policy amendments included in 2015 Wisconsin Act 55 and supports Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to help people move from government dependence to true independence.

Under the rule, able-bodied adults participating in the FoodShare Employment and Training program will be subject to drug screening and, if necessary a drug test. Those who test positive will have the opportunity to get treatment, regardless of ability to pay, so they can get healthy and get back into the workforce. Healthy citizens create a stronger workforce by helping employers fill jobs that require passing a drug test, resulting in a healthier Wisconsin that brings economic prosperity and a better quality of life for everyone in the state. This initiative also supports Wisconsin’s efforts to be on the forefront in the fight against the opioid epidemic.

Following the public comment period, DHS made the revisions to the rule text including the following:

  • Adds information about trauma-informed care
  • Updates funding language to reflect DHS’ responsibility for funding costs of screening, testing, and treatment
  • Clarifies that individuals exempt from FoodShare work requirements would be exempt from the requirements of this rule

Once the Governor approves the order, the Legislature will review, and once approved, it will be published in the Administrative Register where it will become effective either the first day of the next month or on the date specified in the rule. After which, DHS will work collaboratively with stakeholders on policy and systems development to implement the rule.

Under Governor Walker, Wisconsin has invested more than $60 million in the FoodShare Employment and Training program to help people overcome the barriers to employment. In Wisconsin, able-bodied adults ages 18-49 are required to participate in the FoodShare Employment and Training program, or another eligible worker training program, or work at least 80 hours per month to maintain eligibility for the FoodShare program. Since the work requirement began in April 2015, more than 20,000 people in the state have transitioned to the workforce.

More information about the proposed rule, including the report that DHS submitted to the Governor's Office, is available on the DHS website.