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Seeing beyond limitations – a road to successful employment

Florida Blue is committed to offering opportunities for individuals of all abilities. They employ individuals who fit their corporate culture of embracing and understanding differences. Florida Blue encourages employees to celebrate diversity through Communities including groups for veterans, LGBT and allies people with disabilities, Hispanics and generations and innovation among many others.

At Florida Blue, the commitment to provide an inroad to employment for those with disabilities was one of the driving forces behind the partnership with The Arc Jacksonville and the hiring of Ali. Ali joined Florida Blue on Aug. 7, 2017, and quickly became a valued member of the team.

Ali works 20 hours per week, tracking equipment inventory in Excel to assist the Accommodations team and preparing conference rooms in five of the buildings at the Deerwood Campus. Her work provides data analysis for the inventory she tracks and ensures that all conference rooms have a professional appearance. When asked about her new job, she said she’s enjoyed “how much fun a job can be and meeting new people.” She plans to work there “for a long time.”

Jennifer Wilburn, Accessibility Consultant, is one of Ali’s supervisors. Jennifer is thrilled to have Ali, who she describes as a quick learner who works independently and has “fit right in with the fabric of the workforce.”

Jennifer, with the help of the disability-affinity Community group and the Human Resources department, successfully located the right role that would work for Ali and the Florida Blue team. Leaders from various departments convened to discuss shared needs, and identified a role that would be mutually beneficial. Jennifer knows the idea of matching skills with company needs can be daunting at first, figuring out if the time and resources would be available, but it’s working better than they could have imagined.

One critical piece that eased the process was Ali’s job coach, Cass Parker. Cass was on-site daily with Ali during her first few weeks of employment, helping her to navigate the campus, assisting with compliance and ongoing training, and coordinating with coworkers. Cass continues to work with Ali, Jennifer and the team to ensure success for all.
Ali learned important employment skills as a student in The Arc Jacksonville’s On Campus Transition (OCT) College program at the University of North Florida. She graduated in 2017 and currently lives independently at The Arc Jacksonville Village, a community designed to maximize community inclusion for adults with intellectual and developmental differences.
The Arc Jacksonville applauds Florida Blue for sharing in its vision of a community where disability is a distinction without difference.

Interested in employment opportunities for your company? Contact Susan Hamilton at 904-355-0155 or visit www.arcjacksonville.org/community-employment.