Governor Scott Creates Commission on Jobs for Floridians with Disabilities

7/26/2011 Tallahassee, Fla. – To mark the 21st anniversary of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Governor Rick Scott today ordered the creation of the Governor’s Commission on Jobs for Floridians with Disabilities.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, people with disabilities have been disproportionately affected by the recent downturn in the economy. Between October 2008 and June 2011, the rate of job loss among workers with disabilities exceeded that of workers without disabilities by nine percent. The commission will identify strategies to close this gap.

“As we work to grow Florida’s private-sector jobs by making our state the best place to start, grow or move a business, we need to also make sure we are ensuring job opportunities for Floridians with disabilities,” Governor Scott said. “Through employment, persons with disabilities increase their independence and, therefore, enjoy a better quality of life.”

Created by Executive Order 11-161, the Governor’s Commission on Jobs for Floridians with Disabilities will identify barriers in state and local programs that hinder employment for persons with disabilities. They will then recommend changes to Florida laws, policies and procedures that can help remove those barriers and increase employment and job opportunities for persons with disabilities.

Governor Scott is in the process of identifying individuals to serve on the Commission and will appoint advocates, education and job-training professionals and persons with disabilities, as well as private-sector employers.

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11-161 Commission on Jobs for Floridians with Disabilities

STATE OF FLORIDA
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
EXECUTIVE ORDER NUMBER 11-161
(Creation of Governor’s Commission on Jobs for Floridians with Disabilities)

WHEREAS, more than one million Floridians, roughly twelve percent of our state’s working-age population, live daily with some form of physical or mental disability; and

WHEREAS, on July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”), which provides for the elimination of discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in access to employment, transportation, telecommunications, state and local services, and public accommodations; and

WHEREAS, by Executive Order 93-166, Governor Lawton Chiles created the Florida Coordinating Council for the Americans with Disabilities Act to encourage a cooperative effort between state and local governments, the education community, the private sector, and the disability community with respect to implementing the ADA; and

WHEREAS, by Executive Order 97-56, Governor Chiles dissolved the Florida Coordinating Council and created the Americans with Disabilities Act Working Group (the “Working Group”) in order to refocus Florida’s efforts in the implementation of the ADA by serving as a clearinghouse of information for state agencies and consumers; and

WHEREAS, by Executive Order 99-80, Governor Jeb Bush expanded the Working Group to provide information, referrals, education, and recommendations for compliance and implementation of the ADA in order to increase the independence and quality of life of Floridians with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, by Executive Order 07-148, Governor Charlie Crist dissolved the Working Group and created the Governor’s Commission on Disabilities (the “Commission”) to advance public policy for the disability community, to provide a forum for advocates representing groups within the disability community, and to develop and voice unified concerns and recommendations to address the issues facing the disability community; and

WHEREAS, it is in the interest of Floridians with disabilities, and the public as a whole, that a Commission on Jobs for Floridians with Disabilities be created to advance employment and job opportunities for persons with disabilities in order to maximize their independence and quality of life, to indentify government inefficiencies that burden individuals with disabilities seeking necessary services, and to leverage state and community resources to advance service delivery and create incentives for individuals with disabilities to achieve their independence; and

WHEREAS, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, between October 2008 and June 2011, the rate of job loss among workers with disabilities far exceeded that of workers without disabilities, with the proportion of employed U.S. workers identified as having a disability declining by 9 percent; and

WHEREAS, according to the American Community Survey, from 2005 to 2007 only 38.3 percent of working-age Floridians with disabilities were employed, while 78.7 percent of working-age Floridians without a disability were employed;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICK SCOTT, as Governor of Florida, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the laws and Constitution of the State of Florida, do hereby promulgate the following Executive Order, effective immediately:

Section 1.

The Commission on Jobs for Floridians with Disabilities (hereinafter referred to as the “Commission”) is hereby created. The vision of the Commission shall be to advance job and employment opportunities for Floridians with disabilities in order to help those Floridians achieve greater independence. The mission of the Commission will be to provide public policy solutions and strategies to the Governor and state policymakers to fulfill this vision.

Section 2.

The responsibilities of the Commission shall include, but not be limited to:

a. Identifying and recommending strategies to cultivate job opportunities for persons with disabilities in the State of Florida. The Commission shall:

1. Utilize existing resources and service providers to enhance employment readiness for persons with disabilities.
2. Continue efforts made by the Governor’s Commission on Disabilities to create a seamless transition between education and employment by partnering with community colleges and universities to provide transition programs.
3. Build partnerships with the business community to cultivate private-sector jobs and fulfill the Administration’s 7-7-7 Job Creation Plan.

b. Identifying barriers in state and local programs that hinder individuals with disabilities from gaining employment and proposing solutions to mitigate those barriers. The Commission shall:

1. Develop policy recommendations to streamline state and local programs that serve Floridians with disabilities and make them more accessible to consumers.
2. Identify unnecessary regulations and/or bureaucratic processes that restrict or delay access to employment and employment training services.

c. Developing and leveraging state and community resources to advance service delivery. The Commission shall:

1. Increase coordination of resources to breakdown silos and maximize funding opportunities.
2. Provide community-based solutions that incorporate resources within the community, such as family networks, schools and educational programs, businesses, service providers, community centers, and state and local governments.

Section 3.

The Commission shall, no later than July 26, 2012, and on July 26 of every subsequent year until the Commission’s expiration, provide a written report to the Governor outlining the accomplishments during the previous twelve months. The report shall address the following:

a. Recommendations regarding changes to Florida statutes, administrative rules, policies, and procedures of the State in reference to all duties outlined above;
b. Accomplishments in creating jobs and employment opportunities for Floridians with disabilities; and
c. Progress regarding collaborative efforts with stakeholders to accomplish the duties outlined above.

The Commission may also provide interim reports as deemed necessary by the Commission or as requested by the Governor.

Section 4.

The Commission shall consist of thirteen members appointed by the Governor. Members shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The members shall represent the following groups, organizations, and agencies:

a. Two individual Florida citizens representing persons with physical and/or developmental disabilities;
b. Four individuals representing the business community, who have personal experience in creating private-sector jobs;
c. Two individuals representing the state community college system, who have experience in education-to-employment transition programs;
d. One individual who has a background in employment recruitment and/or experience in job training for persons with disabilities;
e. One representative from the Able Trust;
f. One representative from the Division of Vocation Rehabilitation;
g. One representative from the Agency for Persons with Disabilities; and
h. One representative from the Agency for Workforce Innovation.

The Governor shall select the Chair from the Commission’s membership, and shall appoint an Executive Director. All employees of the Commission shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The Governor may suspend or remove the Executive Director or any Member of the Commission with or without cause, and the Governor may fill any vacancy that may arise. The Commission shall be located within the Executive Office of the Governor. The Commission shall meet at least quarterly. A majority of the Commission’s current members constitutes a quorum. A quorum must be met in order for the Commission to vote on any proposed action or recommendation. The Commission shall function according to the guidelines set forth by Robert’s Rules of Order, unless other procedural guidelines are adopted by the Commission.

Section 5.

The Commission is authorized to call upon any State agency, department, division, or office to supply data, reports, or other information the Commission deems reasonably necessary to achieve its objectives. Each agency, department, division, or office of the State under the purview of the Governor is authorized and directed, and all other agencies are requested, to cooperate with the Commission and provide it with such information, personnel, and assistance as necessary to accomplish the purposes of this Executive Order. Universities within the State University System are encouraged to provide the Commission with assistance in performing research necessary to accomplish the purposes of the Commission.

Section 6.

Members of the Commission shall serve without compensation, but may receive per diem and travel expenses to the extent allowed by chapter 112, Florida Statutes, and to the extent that funds are available. Per diem and travel expenses shall be paid in accordance with chapter 112, Florida Statutes, and reasonable accommodations shall be made for members on the Commission with disabilities in accordance with the ADA. Members of the Commission who are public officers and employees of state agencies shall be reimbursed for per diem and travel expenses by their respective agencies. All other members of the Commission shall be reimbursed for per diem and travel expenses by the Executive Office of the Governor.

Section 7.

The meetings of the Commission shall be noticed and open to the public, and shall be conducted in accordance with Chapter 286, Florida Statutes. Florida’s public records law, chapter 119, Florida Statutes, shall apply.

Section 8.

The Commission shall continue in existence until superseded by subsequent Executive Order. This Executive Order supersedes Executive Order 07-148, as amended by Executive Order 08-193.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Florida to be affixed, at Tallahassee, this 26th day of July, 2011.

_________________________________
GOVERNOR

ATTEST:

_________________________________
SECRETARY OF STATE

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