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State Honors Business Creating Opportunities for the Disabled

October 1st, 2009 by flanews

The state is honoring businesses that employ disabled workers, at a time when jobs are hard to come by. Close to one million Floridians are looking for work but as Whitney Ray tells us, the job search is tougher on people with mental and physical disabilities.

Michael Folsom earns his pay by cleaning and organizing rental equipment. Hes been working at In Tents Events, an event coordinating service, for three years. His boss Donna Smithey says hes one of the companys most dependable employees.

He just asked me today, are you sure you dont want to come in and work today, because its his day off today, said Smithey.

But the job search wasnt easy for Michael. He has a learning disability and spent years doing odd jobs.

Janitor service on and off for years, but when I went with her Ive been fortunate, said Michael.

Businesses that make special efforts to hire physically and mentally disabled Floridians are being honored by the state. Walgreens and Wal-Mart are among the names who are creating opportunities for worker who face extra challenges in their job hunts.

But with more and more Florida businesses closing their doors, and a double digit unemployment rate, finding jobs for the disabled is becoming more of a challenge. Jim DeBeaugrine, the director of the Agency for Person with Disabilities, says the economic downturn is giving employers a chance to create jobs for the disabled.

When it gets better we want to be there on the spot with a work force thats ready and willing to go to work and make a contribution for our state, said DeBeaugrine.

The governor and state cabinet honored the efforts of the disabled searching for jobs in Florida, highlighting the career of a Bay County man who was recently elected as property appraiser despite being wheelchair bound.

October is Disability Employment Awareness Month. On October 21st, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities will host job fairs around the state to match disabled job seekers with mentors working in professions theyd like to pursue. For more information on the job fairs go to www.floridadmd.org

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