July 2023

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Job Gains Result of Steady Labor Demand 

In a recent interview, The Able Trust CEO Allison Chase discussed the improvement in employment for job seekers with disabilities. New job numbers were released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the employment-to-population ratio for disabled individuals now stands at a record high of 22.4%.

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New Model Launched to Strengthen Employment Disability

As The Able Trust continues to support disability employment across Florida, we are launching a new initiative to help foster and support the disability employment system in the Tampa area. The Collective Impact model will bring together diverse stakeholders to collaboratively address local challenges while highlighting new opportunities. Not only will this new initiative strengthen existing relationships between employment providers and Vocational Rehabilitation, we believe businesses will also benefit by having an easier route to tapping into a skilled but underutilized talent pool.

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Tallahassee MSA Snapshot

As the number of Floridians with a disability who are employed continues to increase, we are providing a quick snapshot of the latest Census data at the local level. Shown below are the number of Employed and Unemployed persons with disabilities in the counties that make up the Tallahassee Metropolitan Statistical Area. The Florida heat map illustrates the number of Floridians with a disability who are working in each county, with the darker shaded counties showing the higher numbers. Additional data is available on The Able Trust's Research webpage.

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Preparing Tomorrow's Workforce Today

We were excited last week by new BLS numbers that show an historic improvement in employment of persons with disabilities. We are encouraged to see employers hire from this hidden talent pool as they fill their staffing needs.

This improvement in employment reinforces how important it is for students with disabilities to be prepared for the workforce. The Able Trust has a long history of working with students through High School High Tech (HSHT), a program that gives high school students with disabilities the opportunity to explore jobs or postsecondary education leading to in-demand careers. While school may be out for the summer, preparing for the next step continues for HSHT students.

Nursing Summer Scholars Program

Through a partnership with the University of South Florida College of Nursing, HSHT students will be introduced to the role of a professional nurse and different career opportunities in the field. Ten students from around Florida will spend two days participating in hands-on experiences. Through engaging activities, students will also have the opportunity to form connections with other HSHT students with similar interests.

Nuts Bolts & Thingamajigs

In another program that took place earlier this summer, HSHT students had the opportunity to learn about Florida's manufacturing industry. HSHT students from The Haven Academy in Sarasota participated in a Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs camp where they toured companies including PPi Technologies and Tervis Tumbler. Through hands-on workshops, these students had the opportunity to learn about the career options available in the manufacturing industry.

We want to continue these summer programs to help students with disabilities understand a path to employment they might not be aware of. If you have an idea for a summer program that would introduce students with disabilities to your industry, please feel free to contact me at Allison@abletrust.org to discuss partnership opportunities.

Allison Chase

President & CEO



More than 1.5 billion people—15% of the world’s population—live with a form of disability, regardless of their race, gender or age, and individuals will likely experience disability at one point in their lives, whether it be permanent, temporary or situational. For example, if you have ever broken your arm and had to use an assistive device/technology, you experienced a temporary disability. Or if you have a difficult time understanding the speaker in a noisy room, you are experiencing a situational disability that could potentially be eased with live captioning.

As the disability inclusion lead at McDonald’s, I help employees understand the nuances of disability, and work with the company to shape and implement our global disability inclusion strategy.

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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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