(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- Miami-Dade Commissioners passed an item that could be the start of a school that would help students with disabilities. On December 19, Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz sponsored a resolution urging the Florida Legislature to enact HB 0973, SB 1270, or similar legislation establishing the Dan Marino Foundation Florida Vocational College. This residential school would provide students ages 18 to 28 who have developmental disabilities, and who are no longer eligible for exceptional student education funding due to age or graduation from high school, with the opportunity to obtain a post-secondary education on a college campus setting.
According to Diaz’s resolution, over 341,000 students in Florida currently have a disability. Seventy-seven percent of these students will graduate or age out of the school system without a standard diploma, and 79 percent will no longer be eligible for further educational opportunities. Without a diploma, these students typically face difficulties later in life in acquiring employment and becoming independent.
The Florida Legislature has taken up this issue through companion House and Senate bills that have been filed for consideration during the 2012 session; HB 973 was filed by Representative Jose Felix Diaz (R-Miami) and SB 1270 by Senator Anitere Flores (R-Miami).
“The creation of the Dan Marino Foundation Florida Vocational College would provide students with disabilities with the professional, social, and life skills they need to live on their own and be less dependent on government funding,” said Commissioner Diaz. “It is my sincere hope that our state legislators pass this item to give students with disabilities a chance to live the lives they deserve.”