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As we reach the final weeks of 2022, many organizations are rolling out major end-of-year celebrations or promotions. High School High Tech, on the other hand, is still very much in the midst of another busy, rewarding year—just like the students and coordinators who help to make our program a success.

We are just under a month away from the first milestone for our participating Project Venture sites, as teams must submit their business plans and commercials by Tuesday, January 3. I am genuinely excited to see the innovative and unexpected presentations from HSHT students across the state, and I know our judges will agree! Check out a review of last year's competition and winners, and watch our website for upcoming information on Project Venture 2023.

Beyond another upcoming wave of inventive new ideas from the terrific students participating in Project Venture 2023, HSHT has already had some major highlights this school year:

  • Wakulla High School HSHT student Edgar Caquimbo interviewed Florida Department of Education Chancellor Kevin O’Farrell about the Get There program.
  • Orlando's WESH aired a story spotlighting one of Orange County’s HSHT programs for its community impact.

You’ll find links to each video in this newsletter, and they are just two examples of the great work being done at all levels of HSHT throughout our state.

Lastly, amidst the rush of activity that always accompanies this time of year, it is still important to take time for ourselves and our loved ones. However you choose to celebrate this holiday season, I and the rest of The Able Trust team sincerely hope you have the opportunity to do so with people you cherish.

See you all in 2023!

Coleen Agner

High School High Tech State Director

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As part of Disability Employment Awareness Month in October, Wakulla High School HSHT student Edgar Caquimbo conducted a great interview about the Get There program with Florida Department of Education (DOE) Chancellor Kevin O’Farrell, who heads the Division of Career & Adult Education. Get There is a workforce education initiative launched by the DOE to help connect students to 17 Career & Technical Education career paths. Watch the video of the interview filmed in Lively College's welding workshop space here.

Orlando-area NBC affiliate WESH presented a story toward the end of October highlighting one of Orange County’s awesome HSHT programs as the station’s CommUNITY Champion. The feature-length clip includes interviews with Orange County School District students, program coordinators and more. Click here for a great behind-the-scenes look at the impacts of HSHT at the individual and community levels.


On October 12, we had an in-depth discussion with three key members of Project 10: Transition Education Network on opportunities and challenges students with disabilities face as they transition to post-secondary education. The lively exchange with Donna Phillips, Franklin Coker and Tracy Dempsey from Project 10 was part of our Webinar Wednesday series for Disability Employment Awareness Month. If you could not attend or would like to review the conversation, visit our Webinar Wednesday archive page and click on the video titled "Building Work Skills for Employment Success: Strategies and Resources."


Publix has a long history of supporting disability-inclusive employment, so it was a pleasure for The Able Trust to hold a series of joint virtual events with the largest supermarket in the Southeastern U.S. throughout Disability Employment Awareness Month. Several High School High Tech students have recently met with outstanding success in starting new careers with Publix.

Students in The Arc Jacksonville's HSHT program participated in mock interviews with and received feedback from Publix customer service leaders and human resources specialists. Afterwards, two students were offered jobs at their local Publix stores. One customer service leader said the students interviewed better than the applicants she'd interviewed that morning at her store!

Shortly after participating in one of the joint virtual events facilitated by Publix and The Able Trust for Disability Employment Awareness Month, Sarasota HSHT student Anabela Burns applied to a local Publix store, interviewed, and was hired. Anabela started working with the store's customer service team the week before Thanksgiving and has thrived in this new position!





High School High Tech programs help open doors for the students with disabilities who participate. If you're interested in getting involved, there are several ways to become engaged:

  • Host your local HSHT site and let them see what happens in your industry.
  • Mentor a HSHT student to give them the real-world experience that is vital to entering the workforce.
  • Adopt a HSHT site to expand student experiences and resources.

To learn more, contact Coleen Agner,

High School High Tech State Director, 

at Coleen@abletrust.org.

A Special Thank You to Supporters of The Able Trust

High School High Tech Program

AT&T Foundation

Batchelor Foundation

Florida Department of

Education, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

Leon Cares

Magruder Foundation

Wells Fargo Foundation

About High School High Tech (HSHT)

High School High Tech is a program that provides high school students with disabilities the opportunity to explore jobs and post-secondary education leading to in-demand careers. Established in 1996, HSHT connects students to a broad range of academic and career development resources and experiences that will help prepare them to meet the demands of the 21st-century workforce. For information, visit www.abletrust.org.

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