October 2023

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Help Us Fuel Workplace Ambition with Our DEAM Toolkit

In choosing our 2023 theme for Disability Employment Awareness Month, we wanted to identify something that was synonymous with work. That first cup of coffee or tea so many of us use to start our day rose to the top.

Whatever your choice of morning beverage may be, that first cup fuels us to get going. We know persons with disabilities have the same ambitions to succeed in the workplace, and they are having that first cup to fuel their day. It was only fitting that our 2023 theme for DEAM is Fueling Workplace Ambition.

It's not too late to participate in Disability Employment Awareness Month with us! Click below to check out our DEAM toolkit full of suggestions on how you can show your support.

Download Our DEAM Toolkit Here

Sign Up for Webinar Wednesdays

The Able Trust is holding a series of webinars throughout Disability Employment Awareness Month  to learn about important education initiatives, transition resources, talent retention and more. Check out the remaining sessions in our Webinar Wednesday Series and make your plans to attend! You can also review the two prior presentations at the above link.

Reserve Your Spot Today

Highlights From Our DEAM Kickoff Celebration in Tampa

Steve Nyilas [left], The Grow Group senior employment specialist and job developer; Robert Young, Dick's Sporting Goods Westshore general manager; and Mel McCray, an employee at the Westshore store living with a disability, share insights and stories in a dynamic panel discussion moderated by The Able Trust President and CEO Allison Chase.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor delivers a proclamation of support for Disability Employment Awareness Month to Chase and The Able Trust. Mayor Castor served as the keynote speaker for the kickoff celebration at the Tampa Marriott Water Street.

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Kickoff Panel Illustrates the Power of Working Together

In the two most recent issues of this newsletter, we've focused strongly on the collaborative aspects of developing and maximizing a robust talent pipeline, from building stronger, deeper relationships to making programming adjustments to address skills gaps for industries in your area. At our Disability Employment Awareness Month kickoff event in Tampa, we got to see firsthand what happens when collaboration works.

One of the indisputable high points of the celebration was a panel discussion featuring Mel McCray, an employee of the Dick's Sporting Goods Westshore store in Tampa, as well as Mel's general manager Robert Young and Steve Nyilas, senior employment specialist and job developer with The Grow Group. Mel, who lives with an invisible disability, shared his story of working with the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to ultimately achieve successful employment at his current job.

After initial difficulty finding an employer willing to hire or sometimes even interview him as a job candidate due to his condition, Mel worked with VR to discuss his skills and employment goals, and was then connected to The Grow Group for employment services. That connection, via a series of collaborative relationships, led Mel first to Steve as a service provider, and then to Robert as his eventual manager.

During the panel discussion, Mel encouraged fellow job seekers with disabilities not to give up on themselves: "Know that you can do the work. ... I've learned to take the 'D' off of 'disabled,' and when you do that you're left with 'is abled.' I'm able to do anything."

The whole conversation, but especially McCray's remarks, served as a tangible reminder that the collective work of our organization, VR and service providers like The Grow Group is so important at a human level. So with that in mind, we want to hear from you. If you have a success story like Mel's you'd like to share, click here to tell us all about it. We look forward to reading and sharing your contributions.

May this Disability Employment Awareness Month be one of the most productive and rewarding yet for your organizations!

Joey D'Souza

Vice President, External Engagement

Use Your Platforms - Raise Awareness in October and Beyond!

Social media is a fantastic tool to use in raising awareness about a variety of events and topics, and Disability Employment Awareness Month is no exception. As service providers, you can have a tremendous impact on the efforts to get the word out about disability-inclusive employment. Check out this Instagram post from the Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities, one of our education partners, and consider creating and sharing a similar post with your audiences on your favorite platforms using the resources in our DEAM toolkit. Contact us if you'd like us to send you coffee sleeves featuring our DEAM logo! Remember to tag The Able Trust in your post:

  • Facebook: @The Able Trust
  • Instagram: @abletrust
  • LinkedIn: @The Able Trust
  • Twitter/X: @AbleTrust
Request Your Sleeves Here



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The Able Trust, also known as the Florida Endowment Foundation for Vocational Rehabilitation, is a 501(c)(3) public charity established by the Florida Legislature in 1990 as a direct support organization for the 

Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Its mission is to be a key leader in providing

Floridians with disabilities opportunities for successful employment.

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