Jason Hamilton, who has Down syndrome, has worked in the mail room at EverBank for the last 14 years.

Megan Mauney is vision impaired and has a service dog. She is a consultant in the disability services department of Florida Blue.

Kelsey Adams, who is developmentally disabled, is a document scanner at W&O Supply, a local marine equipment company.

For years, The Arc Jacksonville has helped adults with with intellectual and developmental disabilities find jobs.

Now, The Arc and Jax Chamber had launched an initiative aimed at putting even more people with disabilities, including veterans, to work at companies large and small across Northeast Florida.The partnership has launched an online platform to connect people with both physical and mental challenges to potential employers.

The new website, EmployMeFirst.org, functions as a kind of job board where those with disabilities can post profiles listing their skills and the kinds of jobs they’re interested in. Employers can post openings for positions and also check out resources that outline the tax, diversity and other benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities.

John Delaney, Jax Chamber chair and president of the University of North Florida, said EmployMeFirst helps push the community conversation forward on issues of diversity in the workplace.

“Many local businesses and organizations have committed to hiring employees with disabilities and found some of their most hard-working, beloved employees,” he said.

The more companies in Jacksonville that take the lead in employing disabled people, the more that trend will increase, according to Jim Whittaker, president and CEO of The Arc Jacksonville.

“This is a community-wide effort and with the help of businesses who employ people with disabilities to encourage their business peers to do the same, I believe we can make an impact on the people of Jacksonville,” said Whittaker.

The EmployMeFirst website was built by a local developer and funded through the City of Jacksonville’s public service grant program.

By:  Colleen Michele Jones

Jacksonville Business Journal