On October 11, APD celebrated Disability Employment Awareness Month by co-hosting the 14th annual Disability Employment Awareness Celebration. The event, which APD hosted in collaboration with Blind Services and Vocational Rehabilitation, was held at Tallahassee City Hall.
About 200 people attended this year’s celebration, which was open to the public. Attendees included Rocky Hanna, Mayor Dailey, Mayor Pro Tem Curtis Richardson, and other state leaders. Mayor Dailey spoke at the event, as did leaders from APD, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Vocational Rehabilitation, and ABLE United. Other speakers included Lively Technical College Office Assistant Jeremy Richard, Millennium Nail & Day Spa Trainee Torey Roberts, and Cayer Behavioral Group Office Assistant Connor Yeatts, who shared what having a job means to them.
Twelve companies from across the state were recognized with Exceptional Employer Awards for their strong commitment to hiring and retaining people with unique abilities. This year’s ceremony recognized the following employers:
- Aramark Dining Services at Jacksonville University
- Army and Air Force Exchange Service
- Bob’s Space Racers
- Chartwells at the University of Miami
- Cleveland Clinic Martin Health
- The Home Depot
- Florida Department of Revenue
- Golden Corral
- The Chocolate Spectrum
- Wawa, Inc.
- ZVRS of Clearwater
These employers each received commemorative plaques that were donated by RESPECT of Florida and made by people with disabilities, who also presented them to the winners at the ceremony.
APD Director Barbara Palmer explained why it’s so important to recognize these employers and their contributions: “These business leaders know that individuals with unique abilities are some of the most dependable employees within their organization. We are trying to spread the word that hiring a person with a disability makes good business sense.”
This year’s event may be over, but there are still plenty of ways that you can join us in celebrating Disability Employment Awareness Month:
- Read this editorial by Director Barbara Palmer
- Watch this video from the event
- Learn more about this year’s speakers, Connor Yeatts, and Jeremy Richard
- Read some of this year’s employment success stories here, here, here, here, here, and here
- Check out our employment success story archive