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State officials praise Linetec for hiring hearing impaired employees


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- State employment officials were in Wausau Thursday to highlight the hiring of disabled workers at Linetec.

Gina Krueger from Linetec HR says they've worked with a number of hearing impaired employees in the past. "We've had folks work in packaging and then also in our crane load area, where they're doing some tack welding, moving crates of material and things like that. So they can do these physical jobs, jobs that require thinking and just because they're hearing impaired doesn't mean they can't do it."

The company hired Jay Kufahl who lost his hearing recently and has been on part time work. Krueger says he's one of two hearing impaired employees currently on staff. "Jay is new and he's going to be a lab tech at our anodized facility. So he's a critical job checking levels of chemicals, making sure everything's running the way it needs to be for our anodizing process."

Jay was placed through the state's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, which helps disabled Wisconsinites find full time employment. The division placed over 3,800 wisconsinites in new jobs last fiscal year. These newly employed individuals are projected to earn $66.3 million annually, more than double the taxpayer investment in their services.

Krueger says they expect to keep adding jobs at Linetec as they prepare for a possible third production line. "We'll be adding positions in the future as we have this past year. So I think there's a lot of exciting things coming up for us."