Florida Senate - 2015                                     SB 848
       By Senator Richter
       23-00853-15                                            2015848__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the employment of individuals with
    3         disabilities; providing a short title; providing
    4         legislative intent; providing a purpose; requiring
    5         specified state agencies and organizations to develop
    6         and implement an interagency cooperative agreement;
    7         requiring the interagency cooperative agreement to
    8         provide the roles, responsibilities, and objectives of
    9         state agencies and organizations; authorizing the
   10         state agencies and organizations that are parties to
   11         the interagency cooperative agreement to adopt rules;
   12         providing an effective date.
   14  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   16         Section 1. (1) SHORT TITLE.—This act may be cited as the
   17  “Employment First Act.”
   18         (2) LEGISLATIVE INTENT.—The Legislature finds that
   19  employment is the most direct and cost-effective means to assist
   20  an individual in achieving independence and fulfillment;
   21  however, individuals with disabilities are confronted by unique
   22  barriers to employment which inhibit their opportunities to
   23  compete fairly in the labor force. It is the intent of the
   24  Legislature to provide a framework for a long-term commitment to
   25  improving employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities
   26  in this state through the implementation of the Employment First
   27  Act.
   28         (3) PURPOSE.—The purpose of the Employment First Act is to
   29  prioritize employment of individuals with disabilities and to
   30  change the employment system to better integrate individuals
   31  with disabilities into the workforce. The Employment First Act
   32  encourages a collaborative effort between state agencies and
   33  organizations to achieve better employment outcomes for
   34  individuals with disabilities.
   35         (4) INTERAGENCY COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT.—The following state
   36  agencies and organizations shall develop an interagency
   37  cooperative agreement to implement the Employment First Act:
   38         (a) The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation of the
   39  Department of Education.
   40         (b) The Division of Blind Services of the Department of
   41  Education.
   42         (c) The Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student
   43  Services of the Department of Education.
   44         (d) The Agency for Persons with Disabilities of the
   45  Department of Children and Families.
   46         (e) The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program of the
   47  Department of Children and Families.
   48         (f) The Department of Economic Opportunity.
   49         (g) Workforce Florida, Inc.
   50         (h) The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council.
   51         (i) Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities.
   52         (j) Other appropriate organizations.
   53         (5) ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES.—The interagency cooperative
   54  agreement shall outline the roles and responsibilities of the
   55  state agencies and organizations identified in subsection (4).
   56  The objectives of the interagency cooperative agreement must
   57  include all of the following:
   58         (a) Establishing a commitment by leadership of the state
   59  agencies and organizations to maximize the resources and
   60  coordination to improve employment outcomes for individuals with
   61  disabilities who seek publicly funded services.
   62         (b) Developing strategic goals and benchmarks to assist the
   63  state agencies and organizations in the implementation of this
   64  agreement.
   65         (c) Identifying financing and contracting methods that will
   66  help to prioritize employment for individuals with disabilities
   67  by state agencies and organizations.
   68         (d) Establishing training methods to better integrate
   69  individuals with disabilities into the workforce.
   70         (e) Ensuring collaborative efforts between multiple
   71  agencies to achieve the purposes of this act.
   72         (f) Promoting service innovations to better assist
   73  individuals with disabilities in the workplace.
   74         (g) Identifying accountability measures to ensure the
   75  sustainability of this agreement.
   76         (6) RULEMAKING.—The state agencies and organizations that
   77  are parties to the interagency cooperative agreement may adopt
   78  rules to implement this act.
   79         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2015.