Florida Unique Abilities Partner News and Events


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The Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program recognizes businesses that are committed to providing career and financial opportunities to individuals with unique abilities and to the organizations that support them. Participating businesses demonstrate their dedication to strengthening communities and the economy by helping these Floridians with untapped talents become more independent and by partnering with other businesses, organizations and state resources in this endeavor.

The Family Café and CareerSource Florida Join Forces to Promote Employment for People with Disabilities at The 19th Annual Family Café


Media Contacts: 
The Family Café: Jeremy Countryman, jcountryman@familycafe.net, 888-309-CAFÉ (2233) 

CareerSource Central Florida: Larry Krause, LKrause@CareerSourceCF.com, 407-342-1953

ORLANDO, Fla. – For a fifth consecutive year, CareerSource Florida is partnering with The Family Café, a Florida nonprofit organization, to help connect employers and job seekers with disabilities through an Employment Expo at The Annual Family Café in Orlando beginning at 10 a.m. today, June 16.

The Annual Family Café is a statewide cross-disability event that brings together information and resources for people with disabilities and their families. Hundreds of thousands of Floridians with disabilities are ready, willing and able to be valuable contributors to the workforce, yet statistics show just 31 percent of those who are of working age are employed. This annual event provides a venue for The Annual Governor’s Summit on Disabilities, where Florida’s governor shares his vision for the state’s citizens with disabilities, and promotes their ability to participate in the workforce.

Governor Scott said, “I am proud of the work that the Family Café is doing to help those with unique abilities enter the workforce so they can live full, happy lives. The legislation I signed into law yesterday to boost funding for the Gardiner Scholarship for students with unique abilities, along with all-time high K-13 per-pupil spending, will allow every student in Florida to get a great education. We will continue working so that every Floridian has the opportunity to achieve their dreams in our state.”

“People with disabilities are fully capable of being employed, and deserve the chance to enjoy the benefits of having meaningful work,” said Family Café President and CEO Lori Fahey. “We are grateful to Governor Scott for his ongoing support, and we are pleased to once again have our partners from CareerSource Florida to help promote disability employment at The Annual Family Café this year.”

Workforce professionals from the statewide CareerSource Florida network will be on hand today at the Employment Expo to help facilitate a relationship between individuals with disabilities and potential employers.

“CareerSource Florida is dedicated to increasing the prosperity of all workers as well as employers, and assisting Floridians with disabilities in achieving their career goals,” said CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard. “We value our partnership with The Family Café and sincerely appreciate Governor Scott’s focus on this important mission.”

The Family Café has been connecting Floridians with disabilities and their families with information, training and networking opportunities since 1998. Its signature event, The 19th Annual Family Café, includes dozens of breakout sessions, a series of engaging keynote presentations and an exhibit hall that showcases dozens of vendors.

“Floridians with unique abilities are a critical part of our state’s talented and trained workforce, which is why DEO is committed to working with employers across the state as part of our Florida Unique Abilities Partnership,” said Cissy Proctor, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. “We’re proud to help The Family Café link job seekers with employers who value their special skills.”

The 19th Annual Family Café’s Employment Expo will introduce attendees to the many services Career centers can offer them as they navigate their way through the employment maze such as advice on job-seeking skills and information about available positions.

“CareerSource Central Florida is proud to continue its productive partnership as a Unique Abilities agency, along with CareerSource Florida, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, and The Family Café, to partner in this annual event in support of our uniquely-abled community and their families,” said CareerSource Central Florida President and CEO Pamela Nabors. “This valuable collaboration goes beyond just providing tools and resources to create relationships and opportunities, and ultimately to change lives.”

In addition to the CareerSource Florida network, employer participants include Wells Fargo Bank, Walgreens and WellCare Health Plans. The 19th Annual Family Café, which takes place at The Hyatt Regency in Orlando June 16 – 18, will host more than 10,000 registered attendees.

For additional details, visit www.FamilyCafe.net. To learn more about employment and training services available to businesses and job seekers, and to connect with your local CareerSource Florida team, visit careersourceflorida.com.

CareerSource Palm Beach County: 
Preparing Young Professionals with Disabilities for Florida’s Workforce


Every year, students from high schools across the state graduate and become the workforce of the future. Recent data from the Florida Department of Education show that more than 13 percent of Florida’s students have a disability. Now more than ever, it is important that we give these future professionals with disabilities the tools and resources they need to succeed.


One organization is doing just that. CareerSource of Palm Beach County is providing Vocational Rehabilitation (V.R.) Young Professional Training to students with disabilities in the Palm Beach County area. During a four-day work-readiness program, students with disabilities participate in mock interviews and receive job support services.


Participants are given a certificate of completion after they finish the program. Through the organization, students are connected with on-the-job training opportunities, scholarships, internships and referrals to community partners looking to hire young professionals with disabilities.


Businesses and organizations across the state, like CareerSource of Palm Beach County, are dedicated to strengthening our communities and economy by helping Floridians with untapped talent become more independent. By providing these opportunities to individuals with unique abilities, we are creating a successful future for all.


The Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program recognizes businesses that are committed to providing career and financial opportunities to individuals with unique abilities and to assisting organizations that support them. For more information on how to join the Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program, please click here.

Steps to Creating an Accessible Workplace

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Studies produced by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Job Accomodation Network show that hiring people with disabilities is good for both the bottom line and employee morale. These studies also debunk a commonly held myth that providing accommodations for these employees is expensive. If your business is interested in joining the ranks of companies like Walgreens, Northrup Grumman and Sea World, which are well-known for hiring people with unique abilities, here are some steps you can take to become more accessible to employees with disabilities.


Work with Job Training Organizations

There are many job training organizations throughout the state that provide educational tools and resources to individuals with unique abilities, helping them excel in today’s workforce. These organizations’ networks allow employers to connect with special job seekers. Check out the list of Florida Unique Abilities Partners that are committed to strengthening their communities and Florida’s economy.


Provide the Tools Needed for Success  

Supplying employees with the proper technological tools to work is a key component in creating an accessible environment. It is important to remember that each situation is unique, and offering proper assistance tailored to each employee’s needs is crucial for success in the workplace.

Make Disability Awareness Part of Your Company Mission

Creating an accessible environment is more than just granting employment opportunities and resources to individuals with unique abilities. It is about making a conscious effort to educate employees, clients and consumers on why it is important to help change the perception on hiring people with special needs. The added benefits that these individuals can bring to the workforce is limitless.


The Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program recognizes businesses that are committed to providing career and financial opportunities to individuals with unique abilities and to assisting organizations that support them. For more information on how to join the Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program, please click here.   

Mobility Awareness Month

Mobility Awareness Blog Photo 

May marks the celebration of National Mobility Awareness Month, a movement to demonstrate that people with physical disabilities are fully capable of living active and mobile lifestyles. One way this is being accomplished is by educating and informing caregivers and individuals with disabilities on the equipment options available to them to achieve that lifestyle.

Did you know?

  • More than 10 million people in the United States have mobility issues.
  • Mobility is the most common form of disability among older Americans.
  • More than 1.6 million Americans require a wheelchair for mobility.

Mobility impairment can refer to a broad range of disabilities that cause a person to rely on assistive devices such as wheelchairs, scooters, canes, or artificial limbs. Structural obstacles that block mobility in the community and workplace make it difficult for those with disabilities to live active and independent lives. This means a sizeable portion of our population is facing challenges in accessing the environment around them.

Fortunately, there are solutions available. There are several companies and organizations that offer adaptive technologies that specialize in mobility and transportation solutions for people with disabilities. One of these organizations is Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST). They assist individuals with unique abilities by providing services through their six Regional Demonstration Centers.  These services include assistive technology device loans, assistive technology device demonstrations, trainings on assistive technology devices and services, and information and assistance activities. 

Such services and accommodations in the workplace improve the employment and retention rates of individuals with mobility impairments, and the Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program both recognizes and assists organizations that support those individuals. Improvements in physical accessibility is a high priority for millions of Americans who experience physical barriers in their homes and communities. Increased awareness of mobility solutions available in the community can help impact the everyday lives of those with disabilities.  

Businesses are encouraged to apply to become a Florida Unique Abilities Program Partner if they meet the program criteria. Individuals can also nominate a business they believe meets the criteria. For more information on how to join the Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program, please click here.

The Importance of Disability Inclusion


Michelle Dennard, CEO of CareerSource Florida 

Disability inclusion involves creating opportunities for everyone, regardless of any physical or mental challenges. This involves making education, transportation and employment available and accessible to people with disabilities.

As the state’s workforce policy and investment board, CareerSource Florida has a lead role in Florida’s implementation of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. I take this responsibility very seriously as president and CEO of CareerSource Florida, and as a Floridian who believes we all should have opportunities to achieve our full potential. This important federal law strengthens the emphasis on access to employment for people with disabilities, requiring enhanced collaboration with businesses and between organizations and agencies that help connect people with disabilities to education, training and support services that facilitate employment. 

By practicing inclusion in Florida’s workforce, we can help to remove barriers that prevent people with disabilities from participating in everyday career and life activities and fulfilling their true potential. Inclusion aims to encourage Floridians with physical or mental impairments so that they too can hold jobs, raise families, compete in sporting competitions – wherever their dreams may lead them – and enjoy a rewarding life.

With more than one out of five Americans living with a disability, the time for awareness of inclusion in our workforce is now. By doing our part as business leaders and reducing the stigmas and stereotypes others have about disabilities, we are creating an environment that can provide the tools and resources needed for all seeking employment to succeed in Florida’s workforce. 



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The Benefits of Hiring People with Unique Abilities

To strengthen Florida’s economy and workforce, the Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program recognizes businesses that are committed to providing career and financial opportunities to individuals with unique abilities and assisting the organizations that support them.  This program works with local, state and national businesses to enhance the employment experience for both employers and workers.  Here are a few of the benefits to being a Florida Unique Abilities Partner:

  • Diversification of the workplace. A diverse workforce provides the ability to experience different perspectives and solutions in a work environment of solidarity and respect.
  • Increased morale. Companies that are committed to inclusiveness see a boost in the morale of current employees by providing them with the opportunity to work alongside colleagues of various backgrounds who have a positive work ethic and unique skill set.
  • Excellent problem solving. People with disabilities often have a lifetime of experience in solving unique problems, using their resilience in not allowing their disability to hinder their desire to work as a step to solve other challenges in the workplace.
  • Added brand value. Hiring people with disabilities adds value to your brand by showing your company cares about inclusivity in the workplace and highlights employees’ unique contributions by hiring a diverse workforce.

The Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program encourages businesses of all sizes to help advocate and raise awareness about the economic and social benefits of employing Floridians with unique abilities.  Businesses seeking to hire these individuals are helping to reduce unemployment while enhancing and boosting morale at their company.

Businesses are encouraged to apply if they meet the program criteria. An individual can also nominate a business that may meet the criteria. For more information on how to join the Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program, please click here.

To view previous blog posts, click here

Want to know more about the Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program?

Learn More Here

For more information contact:
Kym Holcomb
(850) 245-3150


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