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Press Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 20, 2010
CONTACT: Jessica Sims, (850) 245-3029
  Kristin Lock, (850) 245-2112

Florida State Parks Participate in Disability Mentoring Day

~31 participants shadow staff at 13 Florida State Parks~

TALLAHASSEE – In the spirit of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Florida State Parks today participated in Florida’s 10th Annual Disability Mentoring Day in partnership with The Able Trust. National Disability Mentoring Day, sponsored by the American Association of People with Disabilities, began in 1999 as part of a White House effort to increase the profile of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, celebrated every October.

“We are honored to join with The Able Trust in recognizing Disability Mentoring Day and Disability Employment Awareness Month,” said Florida State Parks Director Donald Forgione. “Being a park ranger is very special to many people and this is a great opportunity to share that with individuals of all interests and abilities.”

Disability Mentoring Day is a nationally coordinated job shadowing opportunity for students and jobseekers with disabilities. Participants are matched with professionals based on their career interests and spend the day shadowing these mentors, observing job responsibilities and gaining a better understanding of the workplace environment.

“The Able Trust is excited to represent the state and to serve the organizations that are helping to implement Disability Mentoring programs. It is through participating organizations, like Florida State Parks, that we are able to continue our mission to assist those with disabilities in securing meaningful employment,” said Dr. Susanne Homant, President & CEO of The Able Trust. “Only 38 percent of Floridians with disabilities who are of working age are employed in Florida. It is critical that we continue to offer them the support that opens up career opportunities and gives them the edge they need to compete in today’s job market."

Throughout Florida, 31 participants were matched with 21 Florida State Parks staff members in 13 parks throughout the state and at the central office in Tallahassee. Participants received a glimpse into life as a member of the Florida State Parks family and learned about working at one of Florida’s award winning state parks.

About Florida State Parks
Created in 1935 by the Florida Legislature, the Florida State Park system has grown from eight to 160 parks in the last 75 years. Today, the Florida Park Service manages more than 700,000 acres of Florida’s natural environment, including 100 miles of beaches, eight National Historic Landmarks and 39 sites on the National Register of Historic Places. Florida State Parks has been recognized by the National Recreation and Park Association as the nation’s first and only two-time Gold Medal winner for the nation’s best park service.

About the Able Trust
The Able Trust, also known as the Florida Governor’s Alliance for the Employment of Citizens with Disabilities, is a 501(c) (3) public-private partnership foundation established by the Florida Legislature in 1990. Its mission is to be the leader in providing Floridians with disabilities fair employment opportunities through grant programs, public awareness, public education, policy recommendations and fundraising. Since its establishment, The Able Trust has awarded more than $25 million to individuals with disabilities and nonprofit agencies throughout Florida for employment-related purposes, enabling more than 2,000 Florida citizens of all ages with disabilities to enter the workforce each year. In addition, The Able Trust youth programs provide career development and transition to approximately 2,000 students with disabilities annually, helping to reduce the dropout rate and prepare young adults for life beyond high school.

For more information
Florida State Parks – www.FloridaStateParks.org  
The Able Trust - www.abletrust.org

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"We are honored to join with The Able Trust in recognizing Disability Mentoring Day and Disability Employment Awareness Month."

Donald Forgione
Florida State Parks Director

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Last updated: October 22, 2010

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