Bruce Hagen Discusses How Businesses Participating in the Foundation’s Internship Program Can Help Close the Workforce Gap

By: Florida Chamber Foundation

 

“We are both going to walk away from this with tangible, accountable results.”

 – Bruce Hagen, RAI Investments

 

According to the Florida Chamber Foundation’s recent unemployment report, there are more than 1.13 million Floridians with disabilities between the ages of 16 and 65. Of the 1.13 million, 700,000 people with disabilities are not currently in Florida’s workforce.

The Florida Chamber Foundation’s Internship Program seeks to help close the talent gap by connecting businesses with workforce needs to valuable talent.

RAI Investments is one of the 10 businesses who were selected to take part in this pilot program. According to the Florida Chamber Foundation’s data, unemployment rate for persons with disabilities in each of Florida’s counties are nearly three times higher than overall unemployment rate. Why does this matter to the business community?

“I think it matters because we need to reduce the number of people who are dependent on government and taxpayers,” said BRUCE HAGEN, RAI Investments. “We need to make them employable and create more taxpayers- let them become taxpayers themselves.”

Businesses can help close the workforce gap by getting involved, getting informed and doing what they do best- matching skills to job needs.

“I think you need to match the skill set to the potential employee, and of course we are always doing that,” said HAGEN. “You might not want someone who is confined to a wheel chair unloading and stacking warehouse inventory- but that person might be ideally suited to run your IT programs, including your inventory software. I think employers need to understand that generally, people who have a disability who are given this opportunity are going to really work hard and do all they can but, their differences are not that great from the other 320 million of us out there.”