About this Pilot Project
As part of a 3-year pilot project in Hernando, Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough Counties, The Business Center for Diversity & Inclusion (BCDI) was established to help achieve the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation’s (VR) goal of becoming a top resource to the business community.
Funded by the Florida Department of Education Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Business Center intends to partner with and offer employers access to no-fee training presentations, consultations and referrals to better promote, prepare, and support their interest in, or commitment to, becoming more inclusive in their hiring practices. Data collected from this project is intended to secure valuable feedback from employers that will assist in improving employment rates for persons with unique abilities.
Research has identified that many employers have positive intentions to hire persons with disabilities, but due to various factors, such as a lack of trained personnel, fears about ADA, and concerns about organizational “fit”, actual hire rates remain low.
It is the goal of this pilot project to help employers in our community become more comfortable and confident in hiring and managing individuals with unique abilities. BCDI hopes to do this by developing, delivering and promoting a no-fee service that provides employers the opportunity to learn information and ask questions in a safe environment.
Member organizations can expect to work with a team of qualified professionals who will answer questions, share success stories and support their commitment to becoming more inclusive in their hiring practices.
The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a federal-state program that helps people who have physical or mental disabilities get or keep a job. VR is committed to helping people with disabilities find meaningful careers.
VR’s Mission is “to help people with disabilities find and maintain employment and enhance their independence.”
VR’s vision is “to become the first place people with disabilities turn when seeking employment and a top resource for employers in need of qualified employees.”
Persons with disabilities have more in common with persons that do not have disabilities than they do differences. The term “Unique Abilities” has gained momentum as a movement to further focus on the attributes and contributions that persons with disabilities have and can offer.
The talents of this non-traditional talent pool are increasingly capturing the attention of industry leaders, who continue to inspire other organizations to develop recruiting programs and corporate work place cultures that target the gifts they have to contribute.
Though all persons with disabilities can bring value to a workforce, the focus of this pilot will be primarily on individuals with intellectual disabilities and persons with autism.
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