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LARC Presents Exceptional Employers of Southwest Florida

Tuesday, July 23 at The Collaboratory

(FORT MYERS, Fla. June 4, 2024)  – Lee Association for Remarkable Citizens (LARC) is proud to announce the upcoming “Exceptional Employers of Southwest Florida” event, scheduled for Tuesday, July 23, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The event will take place at The Collaboratory, located at 2031 Jackson St, Fort Myers, 33901. Admission is free and open to the public, but advance registration is requested.

The purpose of the event is to recognize and celebrate outstanding employers in our community who have demonstrated a commitment to hiring individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. LARC Inc., a training center for success, provides essential support services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Attendees can expect a morning of inspiration, networking, and learning. The event will feature a light breakfast, networking opportunities, and a panel discussion with local business owners and executives sharing best practices for employing individuals with disabilities.

Panelists include:

  • Suzie Starks, Executive Director, YMCA of Southwest Florida
  • Abby Richter, Customer Engagement Manager, Ecological Laboratories, Inc.
  • Elaine Rockenstyre,  Vice President, Human Resources, Shaw Development
  • Shana Jenkins, Franchise Owner, Steak ‘n Shake

“We are dedicated to highlighting the unique talents and contributions that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities bring to the workplace,” said Angela Katz, Executive Director of LARC. “These individuals are capable, dedicated, and reliable employees who enrich any business they join. We encourage all companies, whether already employing individuals with different abilities or considering it, to attend and learn how to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace.”

Research shows that individuals with disabilities offer a diverse array of talents and tend to exhibit higher job retention rates than their counterparts without disabilities. “Hiring people with exceptional abilities can lead to reduced turnover, lower recruiting costs, increased productivity, and enhanced customer outreach,” said XXXXX (panelist).

Exceptional employers who currently employ individuals with disabilities are encouraged to register in advance to receive recognition at the event. Those interested can register as an Exceptional Employer or as an attendee by visiting before Thursday, July 18.

For businesses looking to support this initiative, event sponsorships are available. For more information on sponsorship opportunities, please contact Nickole Hendra at 239-334-6285 x229 or email [email protected].

To learn more about LARC’s mission or to make a donation, please visit or contact Angela Katz, Executive Director, at 239-334-6285 x210 or email [email protected].

About LARC

Established in 1954, LARC is a training center for success for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  LARC serves more than 300 individuals annually, and participants range from 14 to 81.

LARC offers vocational training, youth programs, community residential and employment services, and a vast array of other state-of-the-art community inclusion services on a full-time, year-round basis. Its main campus is located at 2570 Hanson Street, Fort Myers. LARC also operates two Residential Group Homes in Fort Myers and Cape Coral. 

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