The Able Trust Launches Futures in Focus

The Able Trust today announced the launch of Futures in Focus, a career and postsecondary education exploration program for students with disabilities in grades 6 to 12. The Able Trust is launching Futures in Focus in partnership with the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations. Grants for Futures in Focus are being awarded to education foundations in DeSoto, Dixie, Flagler, Hernando, Jackson, Lake, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties, impacting approximately 600 students.

As students move from high school into postsecondary education or the workforce, many students with disabilities struggle to make a successful transition. Florida’s high school graduation rate for students with disabilities is 85.5%, compared to 88% for students without disabilities. This gap extends into postsecondary enrollment and Florida’s workforce.

Futures in Focus is based on The Able Trust’s High School High Tech program. High School High Tech has an almost 30-year history of increasing the high school graduation rate of Florida students with disabilities, and provides a broad range of academic and career development experiences that will help them envision a future they might not have imagined. Futures in Focus will be available to high school students but expanded to reach middle school students as well, giving them the opportunity to learn about programs such as Career and Technical Education classes that are available in high school.

“This partnership with education foundations in DeSoto, Dixie, Flagler, Hernando, Jackson, Lake, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties is vital to helping us reach more students with disabilities,” said Allison Chase, president & CEO of The Able Trust. “Research shows that educational and career development programs have a positive impact, offering students opportunities to learn about postsecondary options and participate in career development activities that help to ensure they are on a path that leads to a fulfilling career.”

Futures in Focus uses the principles and framework of the nationally recognized research- and evidenced-based Guideposts for Success. Through this pilot program, the education foundations in DeSoto, Dixie, Flagler, Hernando, Jackson, Lake, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties will work with local school districts to enroll students with disabilities and give them experiences that include:

  • Introduction to secondary education pathway options such as Career and Technical Education, pre-apprenticeship, and other certification options (for Middle School students).
  • Introduction to postsecondary education options: certificate programs, apprenticeship, technical school, state college and/or university (for High School students).
  • Introduction to in-demand or growth occupations and industries.
  • Connections to relevant resources that will assist with education and employment.
  • Opportunities for development of self-esteem and leadership skills. 
“We are thrilled to collaborate with The Able Trust on the Futures in Focus program. This initiative offers a transformative opportunity for our students with disabilities in communities around the state, and we are eager to see the positive impacts.”
Mary Chance
President & CEO, Consortium of Florida Education Foundations