Disability Employment Awareness Month: Closing Florida’s Workforce Gap

By: Whitney Harris

 

Learn More About the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Internship Program
 

Today, I was proud to stand with other disability employment leaders from around our state as the Florida Cabinet signed a resolution, sponsored by Attorney General Pam Bondi, designating October as Disability Employment Awareness Month. The Florida Chamber Foundation has long been a champion of closing the workforce gap for Floridians with disabilities. The bottom line is, Florida businesses require the right talent. And in Florida, the 700,000 Floridians with disabilities who are not in the workforce are an untapped source of talent.

 

It’s the reason why we launched a pilot program with The Able Trust last year, to help pair interns with businesses that needed their skills. To date, more than 10 businesses around the state have shared their stories of hiring an intern, which you can find at www.FloridaChamber.com/InternshipMediaSeries.

These stories include many like Rebecca’s, who I had the honor of standing with at today’s Cabinet meeting and who has been employed by Walmart for more than 11 years. Her words, “having a job truly makes a difference in a person’s life”, are ones that resonate with me and all business leaders in Florida.

Special thank you to those who invited us to stand with them:

  • Robert Doyle, Division of Blind Services
  • Allison Flanagan, Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Barbara Palmer, Agency for Persons with Disabilities
  • Cissy Proctor, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
  • Mary Smith, Family Care Council
  • Glenn Sutphin, Veterans Affairs