Thanks in part to collaboration with Tallahassee-based Able Trust, the Florida Chamber Foundation recently started an internship system for Floridians with disabilities designed to create supported job preparation culminating in successful employment for participants.
The Florida Chamber Foundation’s Whitney Harris, who serves both as special projects coordinator and as the assistant to EVP Tony Carvajal, shed light on the program following an analysis earlier this year by the Foundation’s chief economist, Jerry Parrish, which found that over 1.13 million Sunshine State residents between the ages of 16 and 65 live with disabilities.
“We found that there are more than 700,000 people with disabilities that aren’t even included in the workforce and that their unemployment rate was three times that of everybody else’s at 18.1 percent," Harris said. “People with disabilities are a large untapped workforce. In order to create a more diverse group of workers for our state, we need to tap into every component that Florida has to offer.”
The Able Trust is a public-private grant-issuing foundation — also known as the Florida Governor's Alliance for the Employment of Citizens with Disabilities — established by the Florida State Legislature in 1990. The Able Trust operates under the auspices of the Florida Endowment Foundation for Vocational Rehabilitation.