The readers’ forum

Helping disabled Floridians help themselves


People with disabilities want to work, and Florida is ramping up efforts to ensure that employment is the first option for them.

Over the past decade, “Employment First” has emerged as a declaration that integrated employment is the first priority and preferred outcome for people with disabilities, including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. On Oct. 8, Gov. Scott issued Executive Order 13-284, reaffirming the state’s commitment to employment for these Floridians.

The order states that, “Employment is the most direct and cost-effective means in helping an individual achieve independence and self-fulfillment, which should be the primary objective of public-assistance programs wherever possible.”

The executive order defines employment as “integrated employment, including supported employment, customized employment, and self-employment, where an individual is paid by an employer at minimum wage or greater or receives earnings through one’s self-employment business, fully integrated in the community workforce, with a goal of maximum self-sufficiency.” It also mandates the development of an interagency cooperative agreement between key Florida agencies and organizations.

The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council applauds Gov. Scott’s commitment to employment for Floridians with disabilities. The executive order will strengthen collaboration with state agencies and other disability service organizations and lead to improved employment outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Florida.

Kathy McAllister, chair, Florida Developmental

Disabilities Council, Inc., Tallahassee

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