POINT OF VIEW Support jobs programs for persons with disabilities


Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month is celebrated in March, which also marks the beginning of the Florida legislative session this year. As director of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD), now is also the time to share the needs we hope the Legislature will fund when members pass their final budget.

APD helps people with seven developmental disabilities: severe forms of autism, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome. APD offers services that help them actively live, learn and work in their communities.

On March 14, Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet will consider a resolution, sponsored by Attorney General Pam Bondi, to declare March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in our state. The Cabinet will hear from Adam Longfellow, who works at the Chick-fil-A restaurant on Bradfordville Road in Tallahassee. After being on the job for more than a year, having a job at Chick-fil-A is his pleasure saying: “I want to work. I provide excellent customer service. A job gives me responsibility, and a chance to interact with customers.” His duties include assisting guests, and ensuring the dining area is neat and clean. Adam’s boss, Chick-fil-A Senior Director Brian Carroll, said, “Adam is ready to help, he listens well, and is a joy to work with. Adam has a great sense of humor. He wants to and is ready to learn, and can take correction when needed.”

The governor has included two important proposals in his 2017-18 “Fighting for Florida’s Future” budget to benefit people who are waiting for state-funded community services from APD.

He is recommending $7.5 million to offer Medicaid waiver enrollment to more than 680 individuals with critical needs on the APD waiver waiting list. Additionally, he is proposing $3.3 million for employment programs for people on the waiting list. The money would pay for things like job coaches, uniforms, transportation, and on-the-job training to help individuals learn job skills and gain experience in the workforce. Having a job will help them be more independent and less reliant on others to meet their needs.

During this special month of March devoted to promoting the abilities of those APD serves, we ask for the public’s support. We know waiting list and employment funding will make a big difference in the lives of people with disabilities and their families.

BARBARA PALMER, TALLAHASSEE

Editor’s note: Barbara Palmer is director of the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Opinion: Evangelicals can’t advance dignity by dehumanizing others

If the stages of a social movement are emergence, coalescence, bureaucratization and decline, the reaction against the Trump evangelicals among other evangelicals is still in the emergence stage. But one significant act of coalescence took place recently at Wheaton College, where a group of 50 ethnically and denominationally diverse evangelical leaders...
Opinion: Educational fraud continues

Earlier this month, the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, aka The Nation’s Report Card, was released. It’s not a pretty story. Only 37 percent of 12th-graders tested proficient or better in reading, and only 25 percent did so in math. Among black students, only 17 percent tested proficient or better in reading, and just...
Opinion: Barbara Bush: Fake pearls, genuine heart

Barbara Bush was an expert at throwing shade, even before the term existed. When Congressman Dan Rostenkowski gave the first lady a shampoo for white hair made in his Illinois district, she tried it on her dog Millie. “When I shampooed her with it, she became a brown and slightly yellow-haired dog,” she wrote in her memoir. “At this...
Opinion: Remembering Barbara Bush, grieving mother

My mother and Barbara Bush were contemporaries. Despite coming from very different backgrounds — daughter of a Kansas farmer and daughter of a New York City businessman — they had a common experience, a very human link. It’s a sad connection that I suspect also has many a woman feeling fondly toward Bush, who died Tuesday at 92. Both...
Opinion: Paul Ryan is the ultimate party man

The mistake about Paul Ryan, the one that both friends and foes made over the years between his Obama-era ascent and his just-announced departure from the House speakership, was to imagine him as a potential protagonist for our politics, a lead actor in the drama of conservatism, a visionary or a villain poised to put his stamp upon the era. This Ryan-of-the-imagination...
More Stories