Session Recordings: The Florida DD Network Collaborative Leadership Program Half-day virtual conference

In August 2020, the Florida DD Network Collaborative Leadership Program, funded by the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, hosted a half-day virtual conference to discuss strategies, initiatives and recommendations to promote successful employment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

Employment First Florida is happy to share recordings of the 4 sessions! If you have any questions about the conference, please contact Holly Hohmeister at

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Transportation: Recommendations from the FDDC

We all know how important frustrating transportation can be. It’s one of the main issues people seem to struggle with and we are always looking to solutions. It would be nice if Oprah could give us all new cars but that just isn’t a reality.

Back in 2017, the FDDC conducted a study to look for ways to help people with disabilities find good options for transportation.  They found 5 areas of need:

  • More money
  • Stronger agencies
  • More driver training
  • More routes and hours
  • Additional issues

Read the report to learn about their recommendations and advice.

Interview with Valerie Breen, Florida Developmental Disabilities Council

Valerie Breen, executive director of the FDDC, joined Employment First Florida on July 28, 2020 presentation to highlight the collaborative work being done to support the Employment First Florida initiative.

The initiative grew out of the council’s seven year commitment to improve employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. From 2013 until present, the council’s investment in time and dollars has resulted in many returns. Listen to Valerie’s recording to learn more.

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Sarah thinks accommodations should be the norm. We do too.

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Sarah Goldman

In August 2020, the Orlando Sentinel published an article by FDDC member Sarah Goldman. In it Sarah provides an eye-opening perspective on accessibility and how society should consider accommodating needs for all abilities. Read Sarah’s inspiring message by clicking here

If you are having trouble reading the article on the website, click here for a PDF version.

Interviews with the FDDC & FL DVR on July 28

On July 28, Employment First Florida interviewed staff from the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, Inc. and the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation These conversations were the second in an online series profiling the Employment First Florida Interagency Collaborative Team. The series provides people with an update on the progress being made by the agencies who signed the Employment First Florida Interagency Collaborative Agreement. Watch the recording to learn about the projects, initiatives, and experiences both organizations have had since the signing. 

Watch the presenter interviews:

Valerie Breen
Holly Hohmeister
Jan Pearce
Brandi Boyer-Rutherford
Kathy Davis

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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