John Newstreet Discusses Importance of Employing Floridians with Disabilities
By: Florida Chamber Foundation
“Every job has a different skillset and requirement and everybody
has different abilities…. We’re all able and we all have something to contribute.”
– JOHN NEWSTREET
President & CEO of Kissimmee / Osceola County Chamber of Commerce
According to research from the Florida Chamber Foundation, there are nearly 700,000 Floridians with disabilities that are not employed and may want to be part of Florida’s workforce. In response to this large untapped workforce population, the Florida Chamber Foundation and The Able Trust have developed an internship program to help match businesses with qualified individuals with disabilities.
On the Florida Chamber’s recent Series on Free Enterprise, John Newstreet, President & CEO, Kissimmee / Osceola Chamber of Commerce, discussed why his organization elected to participate in the pilot year of the internship program.
“The talent pipeline is important to the future of the community, so a program like this is going to help us find the special talent to help us achieve our goals and the things we most want to accomplish,” said Newstreet.
Research from TheFloridaScorecard.org shows 70,000 more jobs will be needed in Osceola County by 2030, making it even more important for the county to develop a workforce that can meet the needs of future businesses.
“A talent pipeline is needed on all levels,” said Newstreet. “Every job has a different skillset and requirement and everybody has different abilities. We want those folks working here and we want to make sure we have that talent filling the open jobs here. We’re all able and we all have something to contribute.”
Through partnering with organizations like the Kissimmee Chamber, the business community can help close the gap on the unemployment rate of Floridians with disabilities. And while the internship program is relatively new, success can be measured from both the employer’s perspective and from the intern’s.
“From the employer standpoint, it’s great to have a little help when accomplishing tasks and getting things done,” said Newstreet. “From the intern’s perspective, I really hope we give them exposure to different elements of the community and what businesses do, whether it be accounting or marketing or HR. It’s not just ‘come on in and file papers’, it’s come on in and learn the business and learn the community and grow from that.”
If you are a business and would like to hire an intern through the Floridians with Disabilities internship program, please visit www.FloridaChamber.com/Internship.