employU is a nonprofit disability employment service creating an inclusive workforce for people with disabilities through education, empowerment, and advocacy. It’s more than a job search, it’s a support system that is committed to delivering tailored experiences and assisting clients in navigating a complex process. We are a one stop shop for career development and employment solutions that is dedicated to providing the tools and resources necessary to cultivate an inclusive workforce. Partnered with The Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, and the American Dream Employment Network, we offer adult employment services, youth programs, employability trainings, paid work experience, and a variety of assessments. Our services enhance a customer’s ability to successfully achieve independence by establishing a lifelong career.
The Start of Something Great
When our Executive Director Keith Bourkney moved from Buffalo, New York to Florida to work for his close friend’s marketing company, he stumbled upon Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) by chance. When moving into a new office for the marketing company, VR Counselors, who happened to have an office next door, came by to talk to Keith about signing up as a host business for on-the-job trainings (OJTs). “We needed employees so I signed our business up as a contractor,” explains Keith.
Over the next two years the marketing company had more than 20 employees from VR. “One thing that stood out to me, was that they all appreciated the opportunity. In an industry where loyalty is rare and people often ask, ‘what are you going to do for me?’, it was refreshing to hear people say they were grateful for the chance to prove themselves and ask, ‘what can I do for you?’” Keith remembers.
Keith enjoyed working with VR and their customers. He also had a newly discovered passion for assisting those within the disability community find employment. This is where the idea that would eventually become employU was born. In June of 2012, while maintaining his position with the marketing company, Keith received his first referrals from VR. Keith not only worked with his clients to assist them in preparing for and obtaining employment, he also got to know them on a more personal level to help them discover a tailored career path that was right for them. From there, employU was born.
Since then, the organization has continuously increased its coverage area and services the entire state of Florida with virtual services and more than 50 Florida counties with services available in person, making employU the largest full-service nonprofit employment service for people with disabilities in the state.
“People often ask me what the future plans of employU are. When I think about it, I sometimes start to say we’ll complete all the counties by the end of next year and maybe start working out of state by the year after. But that’s not really what the plan is,” Keith explains. “The plan is to keep making our company better… employU will go wherever it is needed and wherever we find great people. It’ll take on any new programs that come across its’ path that look like a good idea. … employU is something that I am extremely proud to not just have kicked off, but to also just be a part of. I love watching people grow because it’s the people that make this company great. …10 years have gone by really fast. I cannot wait to see what we look like at our 20th anniversary celebration.”
employU offers Vocational and Psychological Evaluation services. Available in both virtual and in-person formats, these evaluation services work together to provide a clearer, more detailed picture of the best career path for each client.
Adult Employment Services
employU’s adult disability employment services are designed to prepare each participant for the job-seeking process. Our team works one-on-one with customers with disabilities to find the right job for them. It is not just a job search, it is about highlighting a customer’s strengths and abilities to secure long-term employment that is fulfilling and rewarding.
employU’s Transition Youth Services Program provides self-advocacy training, career preparation training, and work experiences for students ages 14-22 with a disability, including those that meet eligibility for a 504 Plan or an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
employU offers virtual services to assist our clients from the comfort of their own home. These services resemble our in-person services but in an interactive, virtual format.
We understand the need and value in bridging the gap between the deaf/HOH and hearing communities. Now available statewide, qualified and experienced interpreters in your area are ready to meet your ASL interpretation needs in any setting. Certified in specialties to be able to provide ASL interpretative services in various specialties and situations.
Become a Business Partner
We strategically match businesses with our clients to establish mutually beneficial experiences. When business partners hire our clients, they are not simply hiring an individual, they are hiring an experienced team of professionals. employU provides ongoing support for a minimum of 3-5 months, depending on the client’s needs, to ensure a high rate of job retention (85%).
Keith and Marsha Bourkney
Our staff is here to assist you and answer any questions you may have. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, (407) 598-0202, or by using the form below.
For the first time, we found ourselves in need of a job coach for our disabled grandson. We needed someone who specialized in assisting him to learn and accurately carry out his job duties. A job coach is allowed on the job site to coach on the premises. They are also able to explain to management personnel how to best assist him to success.
We vetted 3 companies referred to us by Agency for Persons with Disabilities before we decided on employU. We felt they could best meet our grandson's needs.
Our job coach, Jernice has met our expectations. She attends meetings, and provides real-time feedback to us to ensure we are all on the same page. Her passion for assisting our grandson is recognized by all.
We highly recommend employU to anyone who is considering career coaching to enhance their career. They are very beneficial and can gain access and insight where family members cannot.
Thanks for all that you do!!
- "I was being discriminated for my hearing disability at a previous employer. I was so upset and stressed about my employment. So that's when [VR] introduced me to Susan Marino. She has been a true blessing and still remains [in communication] with me with assisting me with my current position... [She has] been there for me for so many things. I appreciate [her] in so many ways...There are no words to express the gratitude I have."
- "Susan Marino maintains a competent and professional demeanor in dealing with her clients and the public. She is very courteous, knowledgeable, and helpful. Susan answered all my son's questions promptly and accurately. She always follows through and finds the answers to any questions and reports back to her clients promptly. Susan has excellent customer service. She is able to troubleshoot and solves all work-related problems quickly and efficiently."
- "This was my first time doing a virtual class and it was pretty fun. Usually I'm not the type of person to really talk that much in the classrooms but I ended up talking a LOT more than I expected. Ashley was very detailed with her wording and also made things easier for my mind. All of my questions were answered and I feel hyped to find a job and improve myself even more."
- "I found [the virtual class] to be very helpful and informative. A lot better than I expected. "
- "We appreciate the partnership with employU and the great opportunity that you all provide for not only members of our community, such as Kymani, but also for our employees and organization. The working relationships that are created via the Transition Youth Services Program makes an equal impact to the employU client, Our employees, and the communities we live and work in."
- "employU is really well rounded and sees the complete picture of employment. Thank you for appointing Anthony to serve as my son Brandon’s Employment Specialist. When we started the process with employU it was amazing from the beginning to the end. Anthony was kind and patient with Brandon and assisted him with his paperwork, job coaching and even asked about Brandon’s passions to get a 'right fit' for employment. Anthony assured me that he would find him the right job because the sky was the limit for Brandon."
- "I am still pretty new but already am amazed at how involved everyone is... I wanted so badly to be a part of employU the first time I saw anything about it and so happy I got the shot. What an amazing program to have for people in all communities built from all of you. So thankful. "
- "Not only are you getting the opportunity to help people change their life, but our staff are rewarded for the work that they do. Management has great respect for the employees and will do what it takes to help staff succeed. "
- "If you are wanting to work for a company that likes to have fun, helps people and has potential for growth, apply!"
- "It is a rewarding job in so many ways, both personally and professionally. You meet some awesome people and can feel really good about helping them to reach their goals and improve their lives."
- "The culture is great! The environment is incredibly empowering and the core values of the company align with mine. It's a pleasure to work for a company that is growing in the right directions and takes care of their employees. employU provides a relaxed and productive atmosphere, flexibility, positive values, commitment to excellence, cooperation, support and motivation."
- "I am proud of our company. To see where we started and where we are now is amazing. Our staff are passionate and professional and work very hard for their customers. I have never worked for a company that brings me such happiness."
- "I have had a great experience here at employU. Great group of hard-working and caring people that are trying to make a difference and improve the lives of clients and staff. "
- "My experience has been nothing but positive. I feel appreciated and I respect my co-workers. Feels like the entire employu family is doing the best they can to provide quality services. "
- "In my entire career, employU is by far the best company I have ever worked for. I love the support, friendship and the fact that we can have over 100 employees and pretty much be a no drama company. Staff have the opportunity to advance and grow and the passion that our staff have when working with their clients is mind blowing. "
- "I enjoy working with employU, I feel that I am appreciated for my work."
- "I love my job and working for a great company. I have the freedom to do my job without being micro-managed or questioned on decisions I make. employu challenges me, gives me independence, flexibility, motivation, satisfaction and requires me to grow. "
- "I consider our biggest strength to be innovation, care for our clients, willingness to work above and beyond with the counselors we serve (within reason) and we have a strong family environment. "
- "employU is a really great place to work. The flexibility I have to create my own schedule is an incredible advantage that I have not had anywhere else. My experience with the staff have all been positive. I can see how passionate everyone is for their work and that really inspires me and keeps me motivated. Management does a great job at recognizing employee achievements and celebrates your success. I couldn't ask for a better work environment!"
- "Employees are treated professionally and with respect. I love what we do for our clients, we help people. "
- "As a company as a whole I feel like I am blessed to have found such an amazing company to work for! I am thankful for each day and look forward to seeing the growth this company accomplishes. I am determined to make this company my forever home and I rave about how awesome my company is to everyone that is willing to hear! "
- "Management is always there to listen and help. "
- "I couldn't be happier with my working environment as I travel frequently and have flexibility with my schedule."
- "I love my job and the clients I have an opportunity to meet. We are certainly making a difference within our communities."
- "I love my job and the clients I have an opportunity to meet. We are certainly making a difference within our communities."
- "So proud to be part of this company. Love how they help people find employment so their lives can be better. "
- " I [am] grateful for all that employU has done to help me grow and I feel very comfortable with the people I work with."
- "I am happy to share with you that [employU employment specialist] Ms. Novak found a job for me which I began this past Saturday, and I can honestly say that the job seems well suited to my needs as well as my personality. I can not speak highly enough about the dedication Ms. Novak demonstrated...”
- "Ms. Hollimon has ...been successful in advocating for Gabrielle to secure a volunteer opportunity at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). This is a great opportunity for Gabrielle to acquire much-needed training, in that Gabrielle desires to eventually work as a Veterinary Assistant. We are very pleased with the quality of service Ms. Hollimon and employU has consistently provided. Hopefully, Gabrielle’s journey will serve to inspire others."
- "Just a note to let you know of your great employee, Jennifer Vickery. She is such a joy to work with. She always follows through with things and is great at helping parents like myself with returning phone calls, etc. It is employees like her that make your company shine! I always know when I don’t understand something she is there to help! My grandson, Noah, has been with your company just shy of two years. He loves going to work and has grown so much. Thanks for everything and my best to Jennifer."
- “My husband and I want to give you the most profound thanks for all your help and willingness for this new challenge in Osvaldo’s life. Thank you because it was not only beneficial to Osvaldo but in my own life too. We are very grateful for everything we have learned. You were a great inspiration for my husband and I. You are awesome, thank you, thank you!! We give you a 100+”
- "Thomas has been an awesome addition to our company this summer and the team at employU have been great to work with."
- "The relationship we have with your organization has been wonderful and with folks like Pam and Laura it really has strengthened the bond. Thank you so much for everything and I hope the relationship only gets stronger and expands."
- "We are looking forward to continuing our relationship with employU. It has been a very special experience that we are proud to be a part of."
- "With employU’s partnership, Capture continues their proud tradition of being a rich, welcoming, and accommodating work environment. The participants are not the only ones who have grown while here; their time with us has allowed our staff and our programs to grow in new ways."
- "employU, now that I am apart of it, is a no-brainer for any business to take advantage of. It helps us, it helps the students, and it helps the economy."
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