WHEREAS, Florida’s Agency for Persons with Disabilities provides services to more than 58,000 Floridians with developmental disabilities annually, so they can live and work in their local communities; and

WHEREAS, Florida’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Division of Blind Services, within the Department of Education, assists people with disabilities to gain employment; and

WHEREAS, Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity, CareerSource Florida, and 24 local workforce development boards throughout the state help people with disabilities locate jobs; and

WHEREAS, these programs impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of citizens with disabilities by offering services including job placement assistance, training, support services, and job coaching; and

WHEREAS, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities assisted 5,287 Floridians with disabilities with maintaining gainful employment, Vocational Rehabilitation assisted 5,055 Floridians to become successfully employed, Blind Services helped 890 individuals achieve successful employment outcomes, Vocational Rehabilitation served 39,460 individuals including more than 20,283 transition-age youth, and Blind Services assisted 10,554 individuals to become more successful in school, community, and work; and

WHEREAS, The Able Trust, also known as the Florida Endowment Foundation for Vocational Rehabilitation, has worked with employers and community organizations throughout the state to enable thousands of Florida’s citizens with disabilities to enter the workforce; and

WHEREAS, the 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; and

WHEREAS, Florida has the third largest population of disabled veterans in the nation with more than 401,000; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the Department of Economic Opportunity, and CareerSource Florida work together to increase employment opportunities for veterans with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Vocational Rehabilitation, Blind Services, Department of Economic Opportunity, CareerSource Florida, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and The Able Trust have substantially contributed to the tax revenues of Florida by helping individuals with disabilities go to work, thereby increasing their ability to achieve self-sufficiency; and

WHEREAS, Florida’s Disability Mentoring Day activities are hosted throughout October which provide mentoring and job shadowing employment opportunities for students and job seekers with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, Florida joins the rest of the Nation in recognizing the contributions of the 2.8 million Floridians with celebrating October 2021, as Disability Employment Awareness Month.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ron Desantis, Governor of the State of Florida, do hereby extend greetings and best wishes to all observing October 2021, as Disability Employment Awareness Month.