EmploymentFirst Florida

Welcome to the Employment First Florida Website!

People with disabilities, including intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), want to work in their community. The purpose of this website is to provide information about what the state of Florida is doing to make it easier for people with disabilities to work. Explore the other pages on this website to learn more about how the state of Florida is helping people find good jobs in their communities!

This website can help you learn about:


January Grassroots Group

Missed the January 23 meeting? Visit the archive page for recordings and materials. Topic: Vocational Rehabilitation’s business relations project has become a leading tool for helping employers efficiently connect to potential employees with disabilities. Our guest presenters, Kathy Davis and Aleksander Bologna, will share information on the history of the business relations project and how it functions.

The Successful Futures program at Helping People Succeed (HPS): Expanding Options for Volunteering and Employment

Helping People Succeed (HPS) is a service provider headquartered in Jensen Beach, in Martin County. Since it was established over fifty years ago by parents wanting a better quality of life for their children with disabilities, HPS has evolved its programs and services to meet changing attitudes toward people with disabilities, and has grown to serve children and adults with disabilities and their families in four Florida counties. Read more about HPS. Read other profiles about agencies making a difference.

Nassau County School District becomes VR vendor to better serve transition-age students

In 2016, the Nassau County School District became an official Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) vendor. Administrators decided to have the school district become a vendor so it could better support its students with disabilities, ages 15 to 22, in paid and unpaid community-based work experiences before graduation and employment. Read more.

Archives: October's Grassroots Group meeting on transportation

Recording and handouts for October's presentation on transportation are now available. During the meeting, Safee Broxton from the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council presented on Florida's transportation voucher pilot program. Safee provided findings on outcomes and also examples of individuals with disability who utilized the vouchers. Ashley Wolfe, from the ICI, introduced our new transportation video (see below!)

New Explore Work Curriculum Video: Lucy & Transportation

Transportation Video

Lesson 3: Getting Employment Help from State Agencies

All workers need to pay attention to transportation. Getting a job is great, but if you can’t get to the job, it’s a problem. Unless you have a driver’s license and a car, you need to do some planning. Watch our video about Lucy's transportation problem and possible solutions [link to video].

New Resources: Fast Facts about Employment for People with Disabilities in Florida

Visit the self-advocate resource library to view our Factsheets. Factsheet 1 looks at data from Florida’s Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD). APD supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live, learn, and work in their neighborhoods and communities. Factsheet 2 looks at data from the American Community Survey and the amount of people working. Factsheet 3 looks at data on the percentage of people who want to work from the National Core Indicators.

Florida Self-Advocacy Central: An Online Bridge Connecting Self-Advocates

Members of FL SAND (Florida Self-Advocates Network’D), a statewide network of local self-advocacy groups, wanted to develop a website for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), service professionals, and family members. They created FSACentral.org as a news hub. The site features information and resources to improve the quality of life of people with IDD, as well as policy development updates and advocacy talking points. Self-advocates can use FSACentral to become informed, educated, and motivated to make change, whether or not they are members of FL SAND. The site is useful for all Floridians with IDD and those who support them, whether or not they have a local support network. Read more.

July 18 Employment First Grassroots Group

The July 18 online meeting provided and overview of the new Explore Work curriculum. If you have any questions about the curriculum, please contact either one of them at ashley.wolfe@umb.edu or allison.hall@umb.edu.
Important links:
Online meeting recording
Explore Work curriculum
Handouts and other information

The next Grassroots Group meeting is scheduled for October 17 meeting. Registration will be available in September.

New Explore Work Curriculum Video Lesson 4: Advocating for accommodations

Accommodations are changes made to the job so that a person with a disability can have access to everything he or she needs to do the job well. Once you have a job, you may have to ask your employer for the accommodations you would need so that you can do the job effectively. So it is up to you to advocate for yourself. Watch our video to learn how Jen asked for accomodations .


Notice of Opportunity to Apply to Participate as a Pilot Site: 12-month project
Application Deadline: May 5, 2017

Participate in the Employment First Florida Interagency Collaborative Team Pilots! The application makes local entities eligible for selection as an Employment First Florida Interagency Collaborative Team Pilot Site. Pilot sites will receive technical assistance and mentoring to support local level interagency partners. We encourage applications from collaborative groups in a common geographic area. The applicants should describe and define the geographic area (i.e. region, county, metropolitan areas, or another local geographic descriptor) that their Collaborative Team will serve. Learn about the project background and download the application now. The pilots are operated by the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston (ICI) and funded by the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC).

Human Resource Management (HRM) division of the Florida Department of Management Services

HRM provides human resource programs and services that attract, develop, retain, and reward a high-performance workforce. Among their activities, HRM offers training, roundtable discussions, and other resources that assist state agencies recruit and retain individuals with disabilities. Read about more about their programs.

Employment First Messaging Video

 As part of Florida's collaborative Employment First efforts, the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council developed the Employment First Messaging Video. The video features leaders from each Employment First partner agency discussing the impact of Employment First.