Nassau County Schools & the Council on Aging: Supporting Independent Travel to Work

Travel to work is one of the most challenging barriers faced by Floridians with disabilities. To help overcome this obstacle, administrators in the Nassau County public schools are supporting students with significant disabilities to learn the skills they need to travel to their jobs. Collaborative discussions and planning with the local Council on Aging (COA) allowed the administrators to understand the issues, and to put supports in place to help students achieve maximum self-sufficiency in traveling.

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RESPECT of Florida: Supporting Self-Employment through Grants

RESPECT of Florida awarding Thaddeus Wilkins a $12,500 Micro-Enterprise Grant

The Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (Florida ARF) is a statewide professional association that serves as a voice for rehabilitation service providers. Florida ARF represents community rehabilitation providers (CRPs) throughout Florida with different levels of engagement with community employment. The association has been a consistent partner in efforts to change public policy and expand community employment.

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AOA: Supporting a local-level network of service organizations and state agencies

The Association of Agencies (AOA) of South Florida began in 2000. The AOA provides a venue for sharing information across local organizations that directly or indirectly support people with disabilities. AOA creates links between its member organizations and identifies ways that they can work together to better serve their clients. Over 80 agencies from Dade, Monroe, and Broward counties engage in the AOA of South Florida.

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On-demand job development training from the Collaborative on Discovery and Innovation in Employment (CODIE)

The Florida Center for Inclusive Communities (FCIC) was established at the University of South Florida in 2005 as one of the national network of university centers for excellence in developmental disability across the country. Over the last decade, as Florida has moved toward its recent adoption of an Employment First policy, FCIC has come to play a prominent role as a provider of training and technical assistance in employment. To standardize training on innovative employment models, it offers a resource library and training opportunities designed in collaboration with the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC), the Department of Education’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and the Social Security Administration.

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Nassau County: Integrating employment training and communication skills development

The Nassau County public school system offers several opportunities for transition age youth to develop their work skills. Two of these are the Hornet’s Nest Café at Yulee High School and the Transition to Adult Program (TAP). Both the Café and TAP provide an opportunity to deliver functional speech and language instruction to students to support them to meet their communication goals while they are developing on-the-job work experiences. Speech and language practitioners work directly with students on the job to help them learn and practice customer service skills and employment-related vocabulary, and to develop problem-solving language, financial skills, and team work skills.

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The Successful Futures Program at Helping People Succeed: Expanding Options for Volunteering and Employment

HPSHelping People Succeed (HPS) is a service provider headquartered in Jensen Beach, in Martin County. Since it was established over 50 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. It has grown to serve children and adults with disabilities and their families in four Florida counties.

Successful Futures, HPS’s adult services program, includes two programs that assist people to enter directly into employment. Project Search, an internship program adopted by many service providers nationwide, is available for students transitioning from school. The Employment Options program supports adults through job development and job coaching services.
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CareerSource Florida partners with organizations to address barriers that often coexist with disabilities

CareerSource Florida is the statewide agency responsible for compliance with workforce-related legislation. It creates policies that local workforce boards implement to increase community access to work opportunities. CareerSource Florida often collaborates with other agencies to organize job fairs, conferences, and other opportunities to connect the business community with job seekers, including those with disabilities.

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DMS & HRM: Collaboration toward inclusive employment

The Florida Department of Management Services (DMS) serves as the business arm of Florida state government by providing workforce and business operational support to Florida’s state agencies, also known as the State Personnel System (SPS). One of DMS’ nine divisions, Human Resource Management (HRM), serves the SPS by providing lawful, effective, and efficient human resource programs and services that attract, develop, retain, and reward a high-performance workforce. One of the ways HRM supports the SPS is by providing training, templates, roundtable discussions, and other resources that assist state agencies in their efforts to recruit and retain ethnic minorities, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities.

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Credentialing job seekers through the Ready to Work project

The Florida Ready To Work portal was designed and funded by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity as a workforce development tool. Job seekers use this tool to learn and test themselves on functional workplace skills, while employers use it to make more confident hiring decisions.

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