Inclusive Businesses

Promising Practices

Recruiting and retaining an inclusive workforce is key to fostering a workplace that attracts top talent. Many Florida employers are leading the way and embedding diversity throughout their business practices. They recognize that a diverse workforce strengthens their company and distinguishes them from competitors, helping them attract new consumers and increase market share.

We are sharing the stories of these leaders and we want to add your company’s story about disability inclusion. CLICK HERE or use the button above and share how your company is engaging persons with disabilities in your workforce.

Many manufacturers have little experience supervising employees with disabilities, and often have concerns about safety. However, Mike Brewster, Chief Production Officer at Monin, a manufacturer of premium flavorings for cocktails, coffees, teas, and more, and his team found that with thoughtful leadership, most of the challenges are easily overcome. Monin engages managers and supervisors to identify work tasks and job functions that can be done safely and with minimal risk.

“It’s all about ability and fit. When companies have leaders committed to establishing and managing both, the benefits of hiring people with disabilities far outweigh the investment,” says Brewster.

When you hire a person with a disability, research consistently shows that you get a more loyal employee who will work harder and have lower absenteeism and turnover. Working alongside Jacob, a five year Monin employee with a disability, has taught others at Monin that open dialogue, done in a respectful way, is an effective way to work together.

Project Venture Sponsor Florida Blue Logo

Florida Blue, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan of Florida received a top score on the 2021 Disability Equality Index® (DEI), the leading nonprofit resource for business disability inclusion worldwide. The DEI illustrates the tangible ways participating companies are driving inclusion and equality.

Some of Florida Blue achievements include adding paid caregiver leave for full-time employees to care for family members with a serious health condition, and awards by Florida Blue and Florida Blue Foundation were made to organizations that supported persons with disabilities, including Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Jacksonville Speech and Hearing Center, and Mana-Sota Lighthouse for the Blind.

“Our mission to help people and communities achieve better health requires us to lead the way in creating a more inclusive and equitable society for our employees, members, customers and communities,” said Pat Geraghty, president and CEO of Florida Blue.

MAXIMUS has been the contracted administrator of the Social Security Ticket to Work Program since 1999. After assisting hundreds of people with disabilities in their career journeys, it was clear to MAXIMUS leadership that they were not tapping into this valuable talent pipeline for their own hiring needs.

MAXIMUS began to foster a culture that respects and values the individual contributions and differences that drive innovation, leadership and performance. MAXIMUS began to work with the state vocational rehabilitation agencies to strengthen their own workforce by recruiting through a diverse talent pipeline including people with disabilities and disabled veterans.

MAXIMUS strives to be champions of inclusion, collaboration and mutual progress both in their business and communities. Their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team works to increase inclusion awareness and education efforts, support employees, and promote inclusive recruitment efforts. The company has been recognized as a disability champion in many of the states where they operate including Virginia, Texas, and Florida.

The Embassy Suites Hotel Fort Lauderdale has shown leadership in providing job training experiences and employment opportunities to participants of the Marino Campus of The Dan Marino Foundation whose mission is to prepare young adults with autism and other developmental disabilities for gainful employment. This program is made possible through a proactive partnership between the Embassy Suites Hotel Fort Lauderdale and the Able Trust grantee Marino Campus.

The Hospitality Program students are able to visit the Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale to learn firsthand about the business and future career opportunities, and Embassy Suites also offered internship experiences during the summer months. Managers have played an integral role in finding the strengths in their existing employees to pair up with program students to create these successful natural support experiences. The Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale has hired four graduates of the program and other participants have used their experiences to build their employment prospects.

Randy’s Garage, a full-service automotive repair and technology business, is owned and operated by Randy and Shelly Wimberly and has been a partner of the Hendry/Glades High School High Tech (HSHT) program for more than 10 years. The Able Trust HSHT program provides high school students with disabilities the opportunity to explore jobs or postsecondary education leading to technology-related careers.

Randy’s Garage has been an active participant in the HSHT program and leads the HSHT Business Advisory Council. They also provide support in other ways including participating in Disability Employment Awareness Month events and providing job shadowing and summer internships.

Over the course of 10 years, Randy’s Garage has offered at least two internships each year providing a launching pad for participating students into post-secondary automotive education and apprenticeships. Randy’s Garage works closely with HSHT to ensure students have an understanding of work expectations and provides ongoing feedback to the students and program managers for future learning. Randy’s Garage also helps promote the HSHT program and the value of employment for people with disabilities within the Hendry/Glades community.

The Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando has been an ongoing partner with Quest Inc., an organization that provides a range of services for adults and children with developmental disabilities including work readiness training.

Through this partnership with Quest, Inc., the Caribe Royale Resort has been able to hire individuals, and has fostered an inclusive environment, working to ensure its staff is supportive, and innovative in implementing strategies to support team members with disabilities. The Resort places emphasis on employee growth by encouraging employees to learn new skills in other resort areas.

Due to the Resort’s willingness to encourage staff growth and their welcoming and supportive nature with young adults with disabilities entering the workforce, The Able Trust was proud to recognize Caribe Royale Resort as a 2018 Employer of the Year.

The Pitney Bowes facility in Jacksonville is committed to a culture of excellence that includes hiring people with disabilities and encouraging their professional growth. Approximately 9 percent of the employees at the Jacksonville facility are individuals with a disability.

Pitney Bowes accomplishes this by adopting an inclusive cultural philosophy, which allows their employees to grow and achieve their full potential. The company has expanded their inclusive hiring strategies in multiple locations and this culture has encouraged employees with disabilities to recommend the company to others with disabilities, knowing that Pitney Bowes is a great place to work.

Pitney Bowes works closely with local disability service nonprofits to strengthen their ability to recruit and accommodate employees with disabilities. Because of their commitment to hiring people with disabilities, The Able Trust was proud to recognize Pitney Bowes as a 2018 Employer of the Year.

Tavistock Development Company is a diversified real estate firm offering an array of services, including planning, design, finance, construction, and development. Tavistock works to better the community through their projects and strong community involvement, notably working with Best Buddies, an international organization that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Tavistock and Best Buddies developed a relationship that has helped to strengthen the supported employment program best known as Best Buddies Jobs. In the first three years that Tavistock partnered with Best Buddies they successfully placed 21 individuals into employment within the company. Because of their strong partnership with Best Buddies and commitment to inclusivity, The Able Trust was proud to recognize Tavistock as a 2018 Employer of the Year.

Take the First Step

If your company is interested in hiring persons with disabilities, click the button below to learn how to get started.