May 2023

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2023 Project Venture Final Highlights Video Now Online

Always a high point of the year for High School High Tech, this year's Project Venture finals featuring teams from the Bay, Orange West and Union County HSHT sites was truly one for the books! Hear from students, judges, and sponsors in our video package featuring all the highlights from Orlando.

Watch Now

Upcoming Webinar to Discuss Education Impacts of 2023 Legislative Session

The Consortium of Florida Education Foundations and Florida Philanthropic Network will host "Education Insights: Recap of the 2023 Legislative Session," a webinar to discuss the impacts this year’s legislative session will have on our students, teachers and schools. Set for Tuesday, May 16 at 3 p.m. EDT, the 60-minute presentation will recap the major education legislation and budget priorities of the 2023 Session. Click below and register to be a part of this important discussion.

Register Now

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What's Next for Your Graduating Seniors?

We are fast approaching one of the most special times of any school year--graduation. And with that in mind, we are planning a special issue of this newsletter to be released toward the end of May.

To put that together, we need the assistance of our great HSHT site coordinators from all over Florida. In this exciting time for your senior students, what plans are they making for their next steps following the last few weeks of their high school careers?

Perhaps they're moving straight into the workforce after graduation. Maybe they've been accepted to a college or university program, or enrolled in a trade school with the intent of pursuing a dream career pathway. Whatever the case, we'd love to hear about it!

What we need from each of you are a few core details--your graduating students' names; their general plans for the fall (such as college, trade school or a job); and their ultimate career goals. You are of course welcome to provide more specific information, like the postsecondary schools they will attend, planned programs of study, or the industries in which they'll be working after graduation. Feel free to give your hard-working students the plaudits they deserve!

I know from experience how much time and energy you all have invested in helping these brilliant young people prepare for their future success, and for that, I am truly grateful. We've had a great year of High School High Tech, and none of it would have been possible without you.

We look forward to the chance to celebrate your seniors in the coming weeks!

Coleen Agner

High School High Tech State Director

HSHT HIGHLIGHT: ServiceSource High School High Tech Programs

Independence, self-sufficiency, and mobility--that is, being able to get to and from school and/or work--are all crucial components for success in life. Pepin Academies-Tampa, Hillsborough County HSHT and Wellbuilt Bikes provide the learning environment, skills, and opportunities for high school students with disabilities to achieve these goals--in addition to learning how to build and repair bicycles.

Wellbuilt Bikes started in 2017 as a co-op drop-in center in Hillsborough County to help persons who are displaced and/or have limited incomes access transportation. The Earn-A-Bike Program provides bicycle ownership, safety equipment and training, and basic maintenance skills.

Pepin Academies teacher Ryan Morton established a mini bicycle repair shop in his Career Explorations classroom, providing an opportunity for HSHT students to learn and practice these mechanical skills.

Last summer, Hillsborough HSHT provided its first paid internship at the Wellbuilt Bike shop at University Mall; and, in October, Wellbuilt hosted a Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM) event sharing the opportunities available for community service, internships, and employment. The highlight of the event was the “Fix the Flat Challenge” a race between a HSHT student and their teacher, Morton. The students had a blast.

Kudos to Morton and Wellbuilt Bikes for their support of Hillsborough HSHT!


High School High Tech Recognized at VISIONS Conference

At the recent VISIONS Conference in Jacksonville, HSHT was selected as a recipient of the 2023 Patrick Mulvihill Making a Difference Award. This honor is named for an individual who worked diligently throughout his career, and continues to do so in his retirement, to positively impact the lives of persons with disabilities.

HSHT State Director Coleen Agner accepted the Mulvihill Award granted by the Florida Division on Career Development and Transition at the conference. Leon County HSHT coordinator Christopher Carlberg was also honored for his work. We're thankful to work with Chris and all the dedicated HSHT coordinators all over Florida!

The Able Trust Sponsors Talent Strong Florida Summit

We were proud to serve as a sponsor of the Florida College Access Network's annual Talent Strong Florida Summit, held last week in Tampa. It was a great opportunity to hear from colleagues all over Florida who share in our work to support all of Florida's students on their journey to education beyond high school. We always appreciate the chance to collaborate with community leaders and education advocates throughout the state!


Florida Leads the Way in Self-Employment

Chamber of, a digital resource for small business owners, recently released an article using United States Census Bureau data to calculate the proportion of self-employed individuals to the overall labor force in 170 U.S. cities. Four South Florida cities came out at the top of the list as having the highest citywide percentages of self-employed workers, with two more in the top ten--all well above the nationwide average of 10.1% of a given city's workforce.

Considering persons with disabilities are about twice as likely as the general population to be self-employed, these numbers underscore the importance of providing resources and training for students who are or will eventually become workers with disabilities. Tap the button below to read the analysis, including further interpretations of the data.

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Your support ensures Floridians with disabilities have opportunities to gain meaningful employment.


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Forward this newsletter to other colleagues, and business and community leaders who are interested in disability employment.


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We welcome the opportunity to answer your questions about disability employment. Invite us to speak at your upcoming board meeting, conference or webinar.


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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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