Fleming Encourages Employers to Give People with Disabilities a Chance
Updated: Oct 17
In October we celebrate Disability Employment Awareness Month by spotlighting people with disabilities who are out in the workforce.
Mark Fleming is the owner and president of Equally Fit, which is a gym where people with disabilities can participate in fitness in a sensory-friendly environment.
Mark combines his personal experiences of autism, disability, and knowledge of exercise to customize programs that keep those of all ages and abilities moving toward greater levels of health.
Mark has earned multiple degrees and certifications: a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and master’s degree in human performance, both from the University of Alabama; a personal training certification through the American Council on Exercise; and several specialty fitness certifications.
Employer: Equally Fit
Years on the job: 7
What is the best advice or encouragement you’d give to a fellow self-advocate about accessing or keeping employment? When accessing employment, just getting a foot in the door to build your resume can be huge. It may not be what you necessarily want to do but it’ll help you get there. Keeping employment involves advocating for the things that make you most successful.
What is the most employment related challenge you've faced as a person with a disability? I think the most important challenge I have faced throughout my life in regard to employment is not being given a shot.
How should we be advocating for better employment practices in Florida? I think the best way to advocate for these things is to prop up those within the community that are working in different fields. The goal is to show employers that may have doubts that there are individuals out there that can do the jobs they have available, if given the opportunity like their non-disabled peers.
In your opinion, how does employing a person with a disability help their quality of life? Lives are improved in numerous ways. First, it can give them purpose. Secondly, it can give them socialization. These things have been scientifically proven to increase a person’s quality and quantity of life.
Florida Self-Advocacy Central would like to thank Mark for his time and thoughtful answers.