The Key to Closing the Unemployment Gap of Disabled Floridians? Target Their Abilities to Your Business Needs.
Authored by: Bruce Hagan, RAI Investments
Did you know that the unemployment rate for Floridians with disabilities is three times Florida’s unemployment rate? RAI Investments took on the challenge of closing this talent gap and in my discussions with business leaders, they all ask me one thing: “If I hire someone who has a disability, how will they do the work?”
Hiring someone with a disability can seem overwhelming, but my advice to businesses is simple: hire the way you always do and match abilities to your needs. For instance, you might not want someone who uses a wheel chair unloading and stacking warehouse inventory- but that person might be ideally suited to run your IT programs, including your inventory software.
RAI Investments was one of 10 businesses selected to participate in the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Internship Program, a pilot program with The Able Trust that serves as a resource for businesses looking to find a qualified employee with a disability through internships.
We’ve learned a lot through the process and have found in this program an incredible intern that taught us ways of enhancing how we do business. People who have a disability who are given an opportunity to come into your business are going to really work hard and, at the end of the day, their differences are not that great from the other 320 million of us out there.
If your business is interested in getting involved with the Florida Chamber Foundation, visit www.FloridaChamber.com/InternshipProgram for more information.
Bruce Hagan CFP is the President and CEO of RAI Investments, a Tallahassee-based business that provides financial planning services to clients. Their intern assisted in marketing efforts and more.
Help Better Understand the Internship Process with The Able Trust’s Employer Internship Guide
In looking at the issues that impact Florida’s current workforce, the Florida Chamber Foundation and The Able Trust have developed an internship program to help businesses access this talent pool. Research has also shown that companies who offer internships to people with disabilities are more likely to overcome misconceptions associated with disabilities and hire within this population when filling future jobs. Matching talented interns with businesses throughout Florida will help meet the long-term goal of closing the gap on the unemployment rate of Floridians with disabilities.