Letters to the Editor

Disabilities are not barriers to employment

Agency for Persons with Disabilities October is Disability Employment Awareness Month when the nation focuses on employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Helping people with developmental disabilities find employment is a top priority for Florida’s Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD). Many other state agencies and partners actively support this mission .

Florida supports businesses committed to hiring individuals with disabilities. One business scheduled to be recognized last week at Tallahassee City Hall was The Pickle Baron of Key West. The owners, Dustan Carpenter and John Nutting, work with Monroe ARC to teach people with disabilities how to work in a professional kitchen. Two employees, Tony Maynard and Ben Neff, have found success there. The owners said that Tony and Ben adapt quickly, are hard workers and can solve problems on their own. They are funny, kind and excited to be a part of Pickle Baron.

TSE Industries of Clearwater is a past Exceptional Employer winner. Two employees, Paul Christian and Donnie Buist, have both celebrated 10 years with the company. TSE Industries is a manufacturing company that produces custom molded rubber, precision machined plastic parts, and specialty chemicals. Christian is engineered polymers division operator and Buist is maintenance custodian. Their coworkers and supervisors value their upbeat attitude.

People with disabilities want a chance to show what they can do for a willing employer. APD works in partnership with the state’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program to provide support to individuals and employers to ensure a successful match.

We need more businesses to provide jobs to people who are qualified and able to perform the work. APD is here to help organizations make a good job match.

Barbara Palmer, director, Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Tallahassee