The Able Trust uses a competitive process to establish local HS/HT sites throughout the state. Organizations such as Centers for Independent Living, Goodwill Industries affiliates, local Workforce Investment Boards, school foundations, and other community-based organizations respond to a Request for Proposals. The first year, The Able Trust awards organizations with $40,000. Once established, the sites receive step-down funding of $20,000 per year. As a result, local sites work in collaboration with The Able Trust HS/HT staff to find alternative funding. For example, when WIA Youth Activities funds in Gainesville were designated for teen pregnancy prevention programs, one of the Gainesville area HS/HT sites submitted a proposal that incorporated a pregnancy prevention component into the HS/HT curriculum. The proposal was approved and provided the additional funding needed to sustain this HS/HT site.
The Able Trust secures funding from a variety of sources to support the continuation and expansion of HS/HT, including a collaborative effort between Florida HS/HT, the Florida DOE, and Florida DVR. As a result of these efforts, the state legislature established a line item in the state budget to provide $500,000 of state-appropriated funds in fiscal year (FY) 2006 to support the expansion of HS/HT to 10 additional sites. The legislature approved reduced appropriations in FY 2007, FY 2008, FY 2009, and FY 2010. In addition, DVR provided $120,000 of its FY 2008 funding to support the 13 local HS/HT sites administered by six centers for independent living throughout the state.
Florida HS/HT, in collaboration with the NCWD/Youth, provides technical assistance to other states working with or interested in implementing the HS/HT model. For example, Florida HS/HT has worked closely with South Carolina’s Vocational Rehabilitation Department to implement HS/HT throughout the state. Workforce South Carolina, the state workforce investment board, provided $200,000 as seed money to start five local HS/HT sites in the state. South Carolina now has 10 local HS/HT sites and has served over 340 students.
Florida HS/HT was one of three state-level HS/HT programs involved in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration’s (ETA) Shared Youth Vision Initiative. In 2006, ETA issued guidance to One-Stop Centers, emphasizing their responsibilities in serving youth, including youth with disabilities. ETA and its federal partners created a process to help states convene interagency groups to create a youth vision for the state and develop a strategy to move that vision forward. In 2007, ETA awarded grants to several state workforce investment boards, including Workforce Florida, to target specific geographic areas within the state and specific populations of youth. Florida HS/HT actively participated on the state team, called the Strengthening Youth Partnership. As a result of additional funding through Workforce Florida, two additional HS/HT programs were created in 2009 specifically to serve incarcerated youth with disabilities and youth with disabilities in the foster care system in Okaloosa, Walton, and Miami-Dade Counties, representing the first pilot program in the nation using the HS/HT model to address the transition needs of youth with disabilities in the foster care system.