The Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program recognizes businesses that are committed to providing career and financial opportunities to individuals with unique abilities and to the organizations that support them. Participating businesses demonstrate their dedication to strengthening communities and the economy by helping these Floridians with untapped talents become more independent and by partnering with other businesses, organizations and state resources in this endeavor.
The Importance of Disability Inclusion
Michelle Dennard, CEO of CareerSource Florida
Disability inclusion involves creating opportunities for everyone, regardless of any physical or mental challenges. This involves making education, transportation and employment available and accessible to people with disabilities.
As the state’s workforce policy and investment board, CareerSource Florida has a lead role in Florida’s implementation of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. I take this responsibility very seriously as president and CEO of CareerSource Florida, and as a Floridian who believes we all should have opportunities to achieve our full potential. This important federal law strengthens the emphasis on access to employment for people with disabilities, requiring enhanced collaboration with businesses and between organizations and agencies that help connect people with disabilities to education, training and support services that facilitate employment.
By practicing inclusion in Florida’s workforce, we can help to remove barriers that prevent people with disabilities from participating in everyday career and life activities and fulfilling their true potential. Inclusion aims to encourage Floridians with physical or mental impairments so that they too can hold jobs, raise families, compete in sporting competitions – wherever their dreams may lead them – and enjoy a rewarding life.
With more than one out of five Americans living with a disability, the time for awareness of inclusion in our workforce is now. By doing our part as business leaders and reducing the stigmas and stereotypes others have about disabilities, we are creating an environment that can provide the tools and resources needed for all seeking employment to succeed in Florida’s workforce.
The Benefits of Hiring People with Unique Abilities
To strengthen Florida’s economy and workforce, the Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program recognizes businesses that are committed to providing career and financial opportunities to individuals with unique abilities and assisting the organizations that support them. This program works with local, state and national businesses to enhance the employment experience for both employers and workers. Here are a few of the benefits to being a Florida Unique Abilities Partner:
- Diversification of the workplace. A diverse workforce provides the ability to experience different perspectives and solutions in a work environment of solidarity and respect.
- Increased morale. Companies that are committed to inclusiveness see a boost in the morale of current employees by providing them with the opportunity to work alongside colleagues of various backgrounds who have a positive work ethic and unique skill set.
- Excellent problem solving. People with disabilities often have a lifetime of experience in solving unique problems, using their resilience in not allowing their disability to hinder their desire to work as a step to solve other challenges in the workplace.
- Added brand value. Hiring people with disabilities adds value to your brand by showing your company cares about inclusivity in the workplace and highlights employees’ unique contributions by hiring a diverse workforce.
The Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program encourages businesses of all sizes to help advocate and raise awareness about the economic and social benefits of employing Floridians with unique abilities. Businesses seeking to hire these individuals are helping to reduce unemployment while enhancing and boosting morale at their company.
Businesses are encouraged to apply if they meet the program criteria. An individual can also nominate a business that may meet the criteria. For more information on how to join the Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program, please click here.
Inclusion of Floridians with Unique Abilities in the Workplace Benefits Our Society
Corporate social responsibility is the ethical framework a business or organization adheres to for the economic, social and environmental benefits of society at large. Today, more customers and individuals looking to gain employment are seeking out businesses that practice inclusivity in their corporate culture. With the rise of consumer awareness and the demand for corporate transparency, corporate social responsibility matters more now than ever.
The Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program was created to recognize businesses with employees who have a disability as well as businesses that establish or contribute to organizations that support the independence of people with disabilities. In Florida, there are currently more than 1.1 million individuals with disabilities aged 16-65. These Floridians can have a harder time establishing gainful employment, so finding a business that supports them and their career paths are of the utmost importance.
Businesses in Florida that are actively hiring people with unique abilities are helping to send a strong message of social responsibility to their communities, and to current and prospective customers. Inclusion in the workplace is helping to break down future barriers and obstacles for people living with disabilities who want to work. By embracing diversity in the workforce, these companies are creating an environment that leads to a new corporate culture for all employees to feel welcome and included.
Businesses are encouraged to apply to be a Florida Unique Abilities Partner if they meet the program criteria. Individuals can also nominate a business they believe meets the criteria. For more information on how to join the Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program, please click here.
Epilepsy Foundation of Florida: Striving to Elevate the Lives of People Living with Epilepsy.
The Epilepsy Foundation of Florida leads the fight to overcome the challenges people living with epilepsy face and strives to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures and save lives. More than 400,000 Floridians are currently living with this condition.
The foundation provides many valuable services to Floridians with epilepsy and their families, regardless of their financial situation. These include: support groups, information and referrals, prevention and education, individualized case management, medical services, psychological services, healthcare navigation, advocacy, camps for children and more.
Diversity in the workplace has a positive impact and only makes a company stronger. Individuals with unique abilities, including those living with epilepsy, provide a different perspective when it comes to problem solving and showing empathy towards others. Hiring individuals with unique abilities also shows that the company or organization values people as people and is willing to make accommodations to foster togetherness, diversity, and social responsibility.
The Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program is important because it encourages and enables businesses to take a leadership role and be at the forefront of helping foster independence for individuals with unique abilities. By participating in the program, a business takes a stand to support success for all Floridians.
The Epilepsy Foundation of Florida was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) and serves as the largest agency for epilepsy programs and services in the state. Florida’s foundation is the sole licensee and affiliate in the state for the National Epilepsy Foundation, which has led the fight against epilepsy since 1968. The organization serves as the lead advocate for the rights and needs of people with epilepsy and seizures at the local, county, state and national level.
The Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program recognizes businesses that are committed to providing career and financial opportunities to individuals with unique abilities and to assisting organizations that support them. For more information on how to join the Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program, please click here.