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2017 Florida Statutes

F.S. 413.801
413.801 Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program.
(1) CREATION AND PURPOSE.The Department of Economic Opportunity shall establish the Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program to designate a business entity as a Florida Unique Abilities Partner if the business entity demonstrates commitment, through employment or support, to the independence of individuals who have a disability. The department shall consult with the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation of the Department of Education, the Division of Blind Services of the Department of Education, and CareerSource Florida, Inc., in creating the program.
(2) DEFINITIONS.As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Department” means the Department of Economic Opportunity.
(b) “Individuals who have a disability” means persons who have a physical or intellectual impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, persons who have a history or record of such an impairment, or persons who are perceived by others as having such an impairment.
(3) DESIGNATION.
(a) A business entity may apply to the department to be designated as a Florida Unique Abilities Partner, based on the business entity’s achievements in at least one of the following categories:
1. Employment of individuals who have a disability.
2. Contributions to local or national disability organizations.
3. Contributions to, or the establishment of, a program that contributes to the independence of individuals who have a disability.
(b) As an alternative to application by a business entity, the department must consider nominations from members of the community where the business entity is located. The nomination must identify the business entity’s achievements in at least one of the categories provided in paragraph (a).
(c) The name, location, and contact information of the business entity must be included in the business entity’s application or nomination.
(d) The department shall adopt procedures for the application, nomination, and designation processes for the Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program. Designation as a Florida Unique Abilities Partner does not establish or involve licensure, does not affect the substantial interests of a party, and does not constitute a final agency action. The Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program and designation are not subject to chapter 120.
(4) ELIGIBILITY AND AWARD.In determining the eligibility for the designation of a business entity as a Florida Unique Abilities Partner, the department shall consider, at a minimum, the following criteria:
(a) For a designation based on an application by a business entity, the business entity must certify that:
1. It employs at least one individual who has a disability. Such employees must be residents of this state and must have been employed by the business entity for at least 9 months before the business entity’s application for the designation. The department may not require the employer to provide personally identifiable information about its employees;
2. It has made contributions to local and national disability organizations or contributions in support of individuals who have a disability. Contributions may be accomplished through financial or in-kind contributions, including employee volunteer hours. Contributions must be documented by providing copies of written receipts or letters of acknowledgment from recipients or donees. A business entity with 100 or fewer employees must make a financial or in-kind contribution of at least $1,000, and a business entity with more than 100 employees must make a financial or in-kind contribution of at least $5,000; or
3. It has established, or has contributed to the establishment of, a program that contributes to the independence of individuals who have a disability. Contributions must be documented by providing copies of written receipts, a summary of the program, program materials, or letters of acknowledgment from program participants or volunteers. A business entity with 100 or fewer employees must make a financial or in-kind contribution of at least $1,000 in the program, and a business entity with more than 100 employees must make a financial or in-kind contribution of at least $5,000.

A business entity that applies to the department to be designated as a Florida Unique Abilities Partner shall be awarded the designation upon meeting the requirements of this section.

(b) For a designation based upon receipt of a nomination of a business entity:
1. The department shall determine whether the nominee, based on the information provided by the nominating person or entity, meets the requirements of paragraph (a). The department may request additional information from the nominee.
2. If the nominee meets the requirements, the department shall provide notice, including the qualification criteria provided in the nomination, to the nominee regarding the nominee’s eligibility to be awarded a designation as a Florida Unique Abilities Partner.
3. The nominee shall be provided 30 days after receipt of the notice to certify that the information in the notice is true and accurate and accept the nomination, to provide corrected information for consideration by the department and indicate an intention to accept the nomination, or to decline the nomination. If the nominee accepts the nomination, the department shall award the designation. The department may not award the designation if the nominee declines the nomination or has not accepted the nomination within 30 days after receiving notice.
(5) ANNUAL CERTIFICATION.After an initial designation as a Florida Unique Abilities Partner, a business entity must certify each year that it continues to meet the criteria for the designation. If the business entity does not submit the yearly certification of continued eligibility, the department shall remove the designation. The business entity may elect to discontinue its designation status at any time by notifying the department of such decision.
(6) LOGO DEVELOPMENT.
(a) The department, in consultation with members of the disability community, shall develop a logo that identifies a business entity that is designated as a Florida Unique Abilities Partner.
(b) The department shall adopt guidelines and requirements for the use of the logo, including how the logo may be used in advertising. The department may allow a business entity to display a Florida Unique Abilities Partner logo upon designation. A business entity that has not been designated as a Florida Unique Abilities Partner or has elected to discontinue its designated status may not display the logo.
(7) WEBSITE.The department shall maintain a website for the program. At a minimum, the website must provide a list of business entities, by county, which currently have the Florida Unique Abilities Partner designation, updated quarterly; information regarding the eligibility requirements for the designation and the method of application or nomination; and best practices for business entities to facilitate the inclusion of individuals who have a disability, updated annually. The website may provide links to the websites of organizations or other resources that will aid business entities to employ or support individuals who have a disability.
(8) INTERAGENCY COLLABORATION.
(a) The Agency for Persons with Disabilities shall provide a link on its website to the department’s website for the Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program.
(b) On a quarterly basis, the department shall provide the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation with a current list of all businesses that are designated as Florida Unique Abilities Partners. The Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation must consider the Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program in the development of marketing campaigns, and specifically in any targeted marketing campaign for individuals who have a disability or their families.
(c) The department and CareerSource Florida, Inc., shall identify employment opportunities posted by business entities that currently have the Florida Unique Abilities Partner designation in the workforce information system under s. 445.011.
(9) REPORT.
(a) By January 1, 2017, the department shall provide a report to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the status of the implementation of this section, including the adoption of rules, development of the logo, and development of application procedures.
(b) Beginning in 2017 and each year thereafter, the department’s annual report required under s. 20.60 must describe in detail the progress and use of the program. At a minimum, the report must include, for the most recent year: the number of applications and nominations received; the number of nominations accepted and declined; the number of designations awarded; annual certifications; the use of information provided under subsection (8); and any other information deemed necessary to evaluate the program.
(10) RULES.The department shall adopt rules to administer this section.
History.s. 8, ch. 2016-3.