Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for 2023

Tallahassee, FL (December 9, 2022) As we close out 2022, many of our member agencies and the individuals they serve are celebrating the holiday season. The staff of Florida ARF and RESPECT of Florida wish each of our member agencies, employment centers, and stakeholders a happy holiday season and a prosperous 2023. The Association is totally committed to assisting the community agencies we represent to achieve their mission to provide quality services and supports to individuals with disabilities. While we experienced a momentous 2022 with the funding increases by Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature, we still have areas we need addressed in 2023. We will be continuously working to ensure that our members needs and messages are communicated to policy and lawmakers. Florida ARF and RESPECT thank each of you for allowing us the opportunity to represent your interests over the last year. We look forward to serving you in 2023!


Florida ARF Reflects on Accomplishments During National Apprenticeship Week

Tallahassee, FL (November 14, 2022) November 14-18, 2022, is National Apprenticeship Week, a nationwide celebration established by the U.S. Department of Labor to bring together leading business, labor, education, and other critical partners to showcase how apprenticeship programs are closing the skills gap in the American workforce. As part of the celebration, Florida ARF is honored to recognize our graduates of the Direct Support Professional (DSP) Apprenticeship. The Association is a sponsoring agency with the Department of Education’s apprenticeship initiative which provided a statewide opportunity for our member agencies to be approved as apprenticeship Employers. Our DSP Apprentices completed intensive instruction and work a prescribed number of hours to gain on-the-job experience as well as learning needed competencies over the enrollment year. We commend the 51 apprentices that have completed the DSP Apprenticeship to date and celebrate their success during National Apprenticeship Week. According to Vice President Courtney Swilley: “The DSP Apprenticeship experience allows DSPs to enhance their professional skills, obtain a certificate of completion, and realize wage increases based on demonstrated competencies. We are very pleased with the success that has been achieved and thank the Employers who joined with us for this groundbreaking initiative. We are pleased to celebrate their success.”


October Is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Tallahassee, FL (October 24, 2022) Each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a time to celebrate the many contributions of America’s workers with disabilities past and present and showcases supported, inclusive employment policies and practices. This year's theme, "Disability: Part of the Equity Equation” recognizes the important role people with disabilities play in a diverse and inclusive workforce. To kickoff this year’s campaign, President Biden issued the annual Presidential Proclamation. In the proclamation he stated “This month, let us acknowledge workers with disabilities who make our communities, our economy, and our Nation stronger. Let us continue the legacy of generations of disability rights activists who have fought for equal employment opportunities, integrated workplaces, and equal pay for equal work. Let us deliver the promise of America to all Americans.” As part of the Florida festivities, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a proclamation joining the nation in observing October 2022 as Disability Employment Awareness Month. Florida ARF and RESPECT of Florida joined with other stakeholders to celebrate the contributions of over 2.8 million Floridians with disabilities this month during the Disability Employment Awareness celebration at the Florida Capitol. The Association is pleased to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness month and recognize all of our members, customers, and Employment Centers who work so diligently to assist individuals with disabilities in achieving their employment goals.


Florida ARF and the Florida Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (FADSP) Celebrate 2022 Direct Support Professional Week

Tallahassee, FL (September 12, 2022) September 11-17 is Direct Support Professional (DSP) Recognition Week. In celebration of this event, Florida ARF and the Florida Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (FADSP) hereby recognize DSPs who make a meaningful difference in the lives of the people they serve. Their stories clearly communicate the loving attitude and dedication of DSPs who give so freely of themselves to serve others. DSPs are the backbone of long-term supports and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in the State of Florida. We truly value and appreciate the services and sacrifices DSPs make to ensure that others needs are met.

During the week, the Association will feature a select number of DSPs who are making a difference across Florida; we also want to acknowledge there are many deserving DSPs that should be recognized for the outstanding work they do on a daily basis to care for loved ones served by our member agencies. The Association is pleased to announce Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a proclamation recognizing Direct Support Professional Recognition Week. DeSantis stated “Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week in Florida is an important opportunity to recognize those who dedicate their lives to providing support and services to our loved ones and improving their communities, including their efforts during public health emergencies.” We could not agree with Governor DeSantis more!

To all the DSPs across Florida, we offer a hearty “Thank you for all that you do!”