Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Closing the job gains gap of Floridians with disabilities

Research from The Able Trust, the statewide organization working to create better pathways for people with disabilities to be successful in the state’s workforce, shows labor force participation is growing, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. According to its report, Solving Florida’s Labor Shortage: The Hidden Solution, while there has been a 20.3% increase from 2016 to 2020 in the workforce participation rate, a gap persists between those with a disability who work and those without a disability of more than 40 percentage points. “Florida projects growth of more than 400,000 new jobs annually between now and 2030,” says Able Trust President and CEO Allison Chase. “There is no better time to leverage Florida’s talented yet underutilized pool of workers with disabilities to strengthen our workforce and ensure Florida’s economy continues to grow.”

Able Trust also reported that a high percentage of people with a disability between ages 20 and 64 do not work — 58.1%, compared to only 18.3% for those who have no disability. There are also large differences between the two groups in terms of full-time work. For people with a disability, 22.8% work full time. For those without a disability, the percentage is 56.8%. The difference in these two groups that work part time is smaller: 19.1% of those with a disability are working part time, compared to 24.9% of those with no disability.

The organization is also working to expand opportunities for people with disabilities into sectors of the economy — such as business, science and the arts — where they are not well-represented.

To help reach the goal of adding 300,000 more individuals with disabilities to the workforce in Florida by 2032, Able Trust launched a three-year initiative — Inclusive Florida: Powered by The Able Trust — to identify best practices and provide solutions for the challenges Florida faces in increasing persons with disabilities into the state’s workforce. The Florida Legislature created The Able Trust in 1990 to be the direct support organization for the state’s vocational rehabilitation program.