The Able Trust's youth programs work to reduce the dropout rate of youth with disabilities and improve their participation in employment-related activities. These programs focus on building self-esteem, developing personal leadership skills, and preparing young adults with disabilities for life beyond high school.
Through High School High Tech students are encouraged to set their sights on a college and career in the fields of science, technology, engineering or math. Students with disabilities enrolled in High School High Tech sites across Florida take field trips to science and technology-related businesses and attractions. They are offered on-the-job experiences through job shadowing activities and internships. As a result, more than 70-percent of Florida High School High Tech graduates have enrolled in post-secondary education or training.
The Florida Youth Leadership Forum is an annual career and leadership training program that is both educational and motivational. High school juniors and seniors are selected each summer to spend a week in Tallahassee learning about disability history, community and academic resources, career options and personal leadership. They also take part in social activities which enable them to network and learn from each other and build friendships that will last a lifetime.
Disability Employment Awareness Month is commemorated each October and pairs students with disabilities with employers for a one-on-one job shadowing experience. DEAM is designed to expose young adults to a variety of career options and provide them with a better understanding of the work place environment. Participants are given a chance to learn about the day-to-day responsibilities required of a desired occupation and the skills and education requirements specific to a job in that career field. At the same time, employers benefit from DEAM by understanding what people with disabilities have to offer to the workplace. The event is sponsored nationally by the American Association of People with Disabilities and implemented in Florida by The Able Trust and its statewide partners.