Florida Senate - 2015                              CS for SB 848
       By the Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability;
       and Senator Richter
       585-02126-15                                           2015848c1
    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; providing an
   10         effective date.
   12  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   14         Section 1. (1) SHORT TITLE.—This act may be cited as the
   15  “Employment First Act.”
   16         (2) LEGISLATIVE INTENT.—The Legislature finds that
   17  employment is the most direct and cost-effective means to assist
   18  an individual in achieving independence and fulfillment;
   19  however, individuals with disabilities are confronted by unique
   20  barriers to employment which inhibit their opportunities to
   21  compete fairly in the labor force. It is the intent of the
   22  Legislature to provide a framework for a long-term commitment to
   23  improving employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities
   24  in this state through the implementation of the Employment First
   25  Act.
   26         (3) PURPOSE.—The purpose of the Employment First Act is to
   27  prioritize employment of individuals with disabilities and to
   28  change the employment system to better integrate individuals
   29  with disabilities into the workforce. The Employment First Act
   30  encourages a collaborative effort between state agencies and
   31  organizations to achieve better employment outcomes for
   32  individuals with disabilities.
   33         (4) INTERAGENCY COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT.—The following state
   34  agencies and organizations shall develop an interagency
   35  cooperative agreement to implement the Employment First Act:
   36         (a) The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation of the
   37  Department of Education.
   38         (b) The Division of Blind Services of the Department of
   39  Education.
   40         (c) The Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student
   41  Services of the Department of Education.
   42         (d) The Agency for Persons with Disabilities.
   43         (e) The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program of the
   44  Department of Children and Families.
   45         (f) The Department of Economic Opportunity.
   46         (g) Workforce Florida, Inc.
   47         (h) The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council.
   48         (i) Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities.
   49         (j) Other appropriate organizations.
   50         (5) ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES.—The interagency cooperative
   51  agreement shall outline the roles and responsibilities of the
   52  state agencies and organizations identified in subsection (4).
   53  The objectives of the interagency cooperative agreement must
   54  include all of the following:
   55         (a) Establishing a commitment by leadership of the state
   56  agencies and organizations to maximize the resources and
   57  coordination to improve employment outcomes for individuals with
   58  disabilities who seek publicly funded services.
   59         (b) Developing strategic goals and benchmarks to assist the
   60  state agencies and organizations in the implementation of this
   61  agreement.
   62         (c) Identifying financing and contracting methods that will
   63  help to prioritize employment for individuals with disabilities
   64  by state agencies and organizations.
   65         (d) Establishing training methods to better integrate
   66  individuals with disabilities into the workforce.
   67         (e) Ensuring collaborative efforts between multiple
   68  agencies to achieve the purposes of this act.
   69         (f) Promoting service innovations to better assist
   70  individuals with disabilities in the workplace.
   71         (g) Identifying accountability measures to ensure the
   72  sustainability of this agreement.
   73         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2015.