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. 11 12 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 13 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.