The Employment Framework, developed through extensive experience and research conducted within states, is used to guide the strategy states use for system improvements. The elements represent practices and outcomes effective at enabling states to develop and sustain high-performing integrated employment systems.

Partnering Agencies & Actions

Florida Developmental Disabilities Council

The Council is committed to advocating for and promoting programs, practices, and innovative initiatives that enhance the independence, productivity, inclusion, and self-determination of individuals with developmental disabilities in all aspects of life.

Action: Three new local-level Employment First pilot sites were launched in Central Florida, Miami-Dade, and Nassau County. Each site received on-site and follow-along technical assistance from the Institute for Community Inclusion.

Agency for Persons with Disabilities

The APD works with local communities and private providers to support people who have developmental disabilities and their families in living, learning, and working in their communities.

Action: APD staff have been trained to introduce and emphasize employment as the first option for individuals entering Significant Additional Needs (SAN) services.

The ARC of Florida

The ARC of Florida works with local, state, and national partners and advocates for people with intellectual disabilities, autism, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, Prader-Willi syndrome, and other developmental disabilities to be fully included in all aspects of their community.

Action: In 2019, The ARC became a member of the Employment First Collaborative Team. For more than 60 years, the ARC has advocated for the rights and needs of Floridians with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They were a key advocate for the passage of the Achieving a Better Life Act in Florida.

Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged

The FL Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged’s mission is to ensure the availability of efficient, cost-effective, and quality transportation services for transportation-disadvantaged people.

Action: The commission joined the Employment First Collaborative Team in 2019. As a member of the team, the commission will continue its efforts to reduce transportation as a barrier to employment for people with disabilities.

Florida Division of Blind Services

DBS helps blind and visually impaired individuals achieve their goals and live their lives with as much independence and self-direction as possible.

Action: DBS trained employment placement specialists to help build partnerships with local businesses and governments to connect employers with our “job-ready” clients. Over 500 businesses have hired DBS clients.

Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services

The mission of the Bureau is to provide students with special needs services and opportunities for personal and professional growth through collaboration of families, professionals, and communities.

Action: Project 10, a BEESS discretionary project, has trained 39 school districts to use a data tracking system and positive interventions to increase graduation rates for students with disabilities.

CareerSource Florida, Inc.

CareerSource is the statewide workforce policy and investment board that engages with local businesses to learn more about and hire people with disabilities.

Action: CareerSource formed a task force to help identify tactics and strategies the state could use to implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

The DEO administers state and federal programs and initiatives to help citizens, businesses, and communities achieve economic independence.

Action: DEO created and manages the Florida Abilities Work Portal in the Employ Florida Marketplace. Florida employers use the portal to look for and hire qualified job seekers with disabilities.

Florida Department of Children and Families, Substance Abuse and Mental Health

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health (SAMH) office oversees a statewide system of care for the prevention, treatment, and recovery of children and adults with serious mental illnesses or substance abuse disorders.

Action: SAMH provides transitional employment placement services to individuals with mental illness. The office achieves this through programs that help the individual thrive in the community and meet employment and other life goals, and that promote recovery from mental illness.

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

VR helps people with disabilities overcome barriers to accessing, maintaining, or returning to employment.

Action: VR partnered with the Home Builders and Contractors Association of Brevard County to create a summer work-based learning experience for students with disabilities. Students spent time in a real work environment. They took on workplace responsibilities while acquiring skills and gaining insight into their own work interests and career requirements.

Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities

Florida ARF is a statewide, professional industry association that provides advocacy, information, and networking for individuals with disabilities and the community agencies that serve them.

Action: Florida ARF successfully advocated for statutory language that includes the transportation needs of individuals served via the APD Medicaid Waiver to be part of their iBudget cost plans.