Florida High School/High Tech

In Florida, the HS/HT program is managed by The Able Trust, created by the Florida Legislature in 1990 (F§ 413.615). The Florida Endowment Foundation for Vocational Rehabilitation, the Trust’s parent organization, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public/private partnership whose goal is to help Floridians with disabilities get jobs. The Able Trust gets its funding from a perpetual endowment, grants, gifts, and support from the public and corporate sectors. The Able Trust supports a diversity of projects, including on-the-job coaching, job skills training, job development, employer outreach, ADA facility compliance, skills evaluation, and programs leading to employment. HS/HT is one of its signature programs. HS/HT Florida run by AbleTrust.

The Able Trust now issues Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to launch HS/HT sites, but it assumes that local sites will find additional dollars to support the program. The State of Florida recognizes that some students who are entitled to services while in school will be ineligible for adult services once they leave school. To prepare these students for a successful transition into the workforce or to pursue higher education, HS/HT provides extra guidance and support. The state coordinator forms state-level partnerships and solicits funds to benefit the local sites. Some state-level partnerships include the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, the State Workforce Investment Board, Florida State University, the University of Florida, The Able Trust, and other large state-level employers. Though each site operates independently, several local-level partners are required, further building the state-level partnerships. These include local Workforce Investment Boards, School Boards, Chambers of Commerce, local two- or four-year colleges or universities, Economic Development Councils, and local businesses.

The Florida HS/HT sites are run through different entities, including public schools, foundations, Centers for Independent Living, Goodwill Industries, and community-based organizations. Each site has a paid full- or part-time project coordinator responsible for ensuring that the mission of HS/HT is met. The state coordinator, contracted through The Able Trust, travels extensively throughout the state, providing hands-on technical assistance and guidance, while also developing additional partnerships. Each site follows a general plan, but is encouraged to develop its own unique partners. The assumption is, however, that sites will remain committed to the understanding that HS/HT in Florida works because it’s a student-driven program. This individuality allows each site to take “ownership” of its own project.

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