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September 24, 2010
Melanie Mowry Etters
Communications Director
(850) 488-4257

State to Honor Businesses that Tap the Talent

Tallahassee - The state of Florida will recognize seven businesses on Friday, October 1, in Tallahassee for being leaders in the employment of people with disabilities. The annual celebration at Tallahassee City Commission Chambers, 300 South Adams Street, will also kick off October's Disability Employment Awareness Month. The public is invited to view informational displays beginning at 8:30 a.m. The employer awards program will start at 9:30 a.m.

Governor Charlie Crist said, "State agencies proudly lead the way as employers of Floridians with disabilities, offering opportunities for success, independence, and respect. Persons with disabilities have expertise and talent that often goes unused and untapped, and all of Florida businesses and employers will do well in expanding opportunities for this important group of Floridians."

The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD), Blind Services, and Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), are honoring the businesses from around the state for their commitment to hiring people with disabilities. October is Disability Employment Awareness Month, and the state is highlighting the contributions of people with disabilities to the work force.

The businesses will receive the Florida Exceptional Employer Award. The Florida Exceptional Employer Award recognizes both the commitment of these businesses to hiring and retaining people with disabilities and also their initiative in creating unique employment opportunities.

APD Director Jim DeBeaugrine said, "Employers who hire people with disabilities find they have dedicated long-term employees who are truly committed to the company. Employers report that these individuals are reliable, punctual, and willing. I encourage businesses to tap into the talent of job seekers with disabilities."

APD annually serves about 35,000 Floridians with the developmental disabilities of mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and Prader-Willi syndrome. For more information on the agency, call 1-866-APD-CARES or visit