October 2023

View as Webpage

Disability Employment Awareness Month and Fueling Workplace Ambition

Some of you are probably wondering about our theme: fueling workplace ambition. We wanted to identify something that was synonymous with work, and that first cup of coffee so many people start with rose to the top.

Whether it’s coffee or tea, most of us need that first cup to get going in the morning. It fuels us.

We know people 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 theme for Disability Employment Awareness Month is Fueling Workplace Ambition.

What Beverage Fuels Your Workplace Ambition?

Show your support during Disability Employment Awareness Month. Check out the DEAM Toolkit for resources and post a photo of yourself with your morning beverage on your favorite social media platform. And don't forget to tag The Able Trust!

DEAM Toolkit

Webinar Wednesday Series

Throughout Disability Employment Awareness Month we will hold a series of webinars to learn about important education initiatives, transition resources, talent retention and more. If you haven't registered yet, check out the Webinar Wednesday Series and plan to attend.

Learn More

Download the Sample Newsletter

The Able Trust wants to make it easy for you to share information about Disability Employment Awareness Month with your staff, colleagues and customers.

Visit the DEAM Toolkit and download our sample newsletter article. Customize it to fit your needs and help us spread the work about expanding disability employment in Florida.

Sample Newsletter Article

Kickoff Photo Highlights

Mayor Jane Castor presents Disability Employment Awareness Month Proclamation

Exciting Kickoff to Disability Employment Awareness Month

We kicked off Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM) recently at the Tampa Marriott Water Street recognizing five Tampa-area employers that have excelled in the area of disability-inclusive employment.


Amazon, Bloomin' Brands, the City of Tampa, Dick's Sporting Goods and Marriott were recognized for their leadership in employing persons with disabilities. We were also pleased to hear from Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, who delivered a proclamation of support on behalf of the City of Tampa.

Another highlight that truly exemplified DEAM was a panel discussion on disability employment issues, during which Dick’s Sporting Goods Westshore employee Mel McCray discussed his difficulty in getting a job as a person living with a disability. McCray worked with the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to discuss his skills and career goals. He was then connected to The Grow Group, a Tampa employment services provider for individuals with disabilities and that connection ultimately led to his successful employment at Dick’s Sporting Goods Westshore.

I hope you'll all join me in taking time this month to recognize the contributions people with disabilities make to our workforce. We have an online DEAM Toolkit with sample social media posts and we hope you'll show your support and spread the word!

Allison Chase

President & CEO

Mel McCray

Employee, Dick's Sporting Goods

Panelists: Steve Nyilas, The Grow Group Senior Employment Specialist Robert Young, Dick’s Sporting Goods Westshore General Manager; and Mel McCray

 John Howell, Area 4, Florida Department of Education, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

Planning Has Started for Project Venture

With Disability Employment Awareness Month underway, we're also getting geared up for Project Venture, an annual competition for high school students with disabilities who participate in The Able Trust High School High Tech program.

This year's competition will be held in Jacksonville on April 9th, and we're excited to see the creative business ideas these students develop. Judges for both phase one and phase two (in person) are crucial to this competition's success and we have been very fortunate to have the support of businesses who have sponsored the competition.

Click the video below to watch highlights from Project Venture 2022-23. If you would like to get involved, visit www.abletrust.org/projectventure for information.

Serving as a judge on Project Venture, seeing the passion and incredibly innovative business ideas, was truly an honor. I was awed and inspired by the confidence with which the students answered questions, their preparation and how well they knew their audience and product, and the polish of their pitches to prospective clients and investors. I will cherish this special day for the rest of my life!

Greg Britton, Florida SBDC

Visit Project Venture

Thank You to Our

Disability Employment Awareness Month Sponsors!

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


To make your tax-deductible donation to The Able Trust,


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


CLICK HERE to join

our mailing list.

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


CLICK HERE to fill out our

Speaker Request form.

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.

LinkedIn  Facebook  Twitter  Instagram