Businesses, Students Benefit with Internship Program
By: Hope Allen, president & CEO, Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce
Appeared in: Tampa Bay Times
Did you know that Pasco County’s unemployment rate for workers with disabilities is nearly four times the traditional unemployment rate? As we work to secure the future of our county and our state, businesses cannot afford to overlook a population that wants, and has the right skills, to work.
The Florida Chamber Foundation partnered with the Able Trust to develop a pilot program that will help match businesses with qualified individuals with disabilities to be placed in internships. The program’s goal is to match talented interns with businesses throughout Florida in order to help meet the long-term goal of engaging more Floridians with disabilities in the workforce.
The pilot program partnered with 10 local chambers of commerce to help spread the message of workforce inclusion, and the Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce was one of them.
In our conversations, we found that businesses often shy away from workers with disabilities because they aren’t sure how to navigate a hiring process they may not be familiar with. Persons with disabilities are just like everybody else within your organization, and once we began to look outside of our traditional locations for information, we found that knowledge was power.
Our intern helped us during a time of need and gained valuable experience at the same time. If you are a business and need the right talent for you, I encourage you to visit FLChamber.com/Internship Program for more information.
Thank you to the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Internship Partner:
Hope Allen: “Those with disabilities don’t have to be unemployed- they are absolutely employable.”
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.
After hearing a presentation of the Florida Chamber Foundation’s internship Program, the Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce stepped up to the plate to help close the workforce gap. The key? Conversations.
“It’s all in conversations and not being afraid to have the conversations,” said HOPE ALLEN, President & CEO, Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce. “Persons with disabilities are just like everybody else within your organization- don’t be afraid of it. So it’s spreading the message and having ambassadors and goodwill and I think that’s what the Florida Chamber is doing really well.”