Section 2: BEP Application, Training, and Licensure

2.0 BEP Application Process

Persons who are interested in participating in the BEP must first apply for DBS services. Those interested can apply online at An individual licensed from another state or a licensed vendor from Florida who has not actively held a contract within the past five years must go through this same process.

Clients interested in the BEP often have misconceptions about what it is like working in a food service or vending machine operation. It is important to assess what the client knows and provide a realistic view of what the client should know before expending time and resources unnecessarily. The application process involves the following nine (9) steps:

2.1 Work Experience

If the Interview Panel recommends the applicant for the BEP training program, the Administrative Services Consultant (ASC) will set up the next step of the assessment, a ten-day Work Experience for the applicant with a local BEP program vendor. The purpose of this exercise is to give the applicant on-the-job experience which will help them determine:

2.2 Training Classes

The Division of Blind Services operates a residential Rehabilitation Center in Daytona Beach, Florida. An individual lives at the Center for the duration of the BEP training offered there.

When an individual attends the Center for training, he/she will undergo eighteen (18) weeks of modules covering the required course work. A score of eighty percent (80%) or above is required to pass each module. If the trainee does not receive a passing grade after two attempts, they will need to request permission from the BEP Bureau Chief in order to take the exam a third time.

The training modules are as follows:

2.3 On-The-Job Training (OJT)

OJT builds on skills already achieved in the basic modular training and gives the opportunity for hands on training in an actual BEP facility. The State Office notifies the counselor and client of the location and start date of OJT. The training takes four (4) to ten (10) weeks.

Emphasis is placed on proper food handling, inventory control, menu planning, vending machine maintenance, customer satisfaction and basic business management including completion of the Monthly Business Report (MBR) and the Request for Reimbursement forms.

2.4 Licensure

After successfully completing all of the training competencies, the BEP State Office schedules the client for a Licensure Examination. Questions are developed from important duties and responsibilities included in Chapter 6A-18 (FAC); the Licensed Operator Facility Agreement (LOFA); the BEP Manual; ServSafe Study Guide; and Vending Machine Programming Guides. A score of eighty percent (80%) or above is required to earn a recommendation for licensure. If this threshold is met and all training reports and eligibility documents are in order, the BEP State Office issues a numbered license to the client, who then becomes a Licensee and eligible to compete for BEP facility vacancies.  The license shall be perpetual, but subject to suspension, revocation or surrender as specified in other sections of this Manual.

2.5 Background Screening Requirements

Individuals seeking to be licensed or to continue to be licensed under the Division's Business Enterprise Program shall submit to background screening as set forth in Chapter 6A-18.042, FAC background screening shall be carried out consistent with screening standards set forth in the Division of Blind Services' Affidavit of Good Moral Character (DBS-BEP Form #002). To be considered for licensing, an individual must successfully pass the background screening either by the absence of a disqualifying offense in the individual's history or by a grant of an exemption from disqualification in the event of a disqualifying offense in the individual's history.

Employees of vendors subject to Level 1 background screenings required by Department of Management Services (DMS) must also successfully pass the background screenings either by absence of a disqualifying offense in the individual's history or by being granted an exemption according to the provisions in this policy.

Procedure for Notification of Applicants and Licensees: Individuals who consented in writing to a background screening and have no disqualifying events shall receive notice of that from the Division.  Notification for disqualifying offenses will be made to individuals by certified mail.

Those who subsequently were disqualified from participation in the Business Enterprise Program by findings of the background screening may request an exemption from disqualification.

Procedure for an Exemption of Disqualified Applicants and Licensees: All requests for exemptions from disqualification shall be in writing, prepared by the requestor, and addressed directly to:

Director, Division of Blind Services
Turlington Building, Room 1114
325 West Gaines Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399

Written requests for exemptions must be made within 21 calendar days of the requestor's receipt of written notification of the Division's intent to disqualify due to findings in the background screening report.  Requests may be sent via the postal system or email.

All such requests must address the following 4 elements:

1. The passage of time since commission of the crime(s). A minimum of 3 years since the requestor has been released from all requirements by the legal jurisdiction imposing the sanctions.  Examples may include but not be limited to.

2. The circumstances surrounding the crime(s);

3. The nature of the harm caused any victim of the crime(s); and written self-disclosure by the requestor.

4. Other evidence provided by the requestor demonstrating clear and convincing proof of rehabilitation and that the applicant should not be disqualified from eligibility or participation in the Business Enterprise Program.

Requests for an exemption from disqualification will be reviewed by the following individuals:

The review may include consideration of the following:

All documents and other information pertaining to the request for an exemption, including the background screening report, are exempt from Chapter 119, Florida Statutes (FS).  The Division shall retain all such documents and information in a separate and secure area.

In the event, the Division grants a request for an exemption from disqualification, such exemption may be considered by subsequent agencies or property owners, but it is not binding on the subsequent agency or property owner.

Procedure to Appeal a Denial of an Exemption: If the Division denies a request for an exemption from disqualification, the requestor may appeal that decision in writing to the Division Director.  Due to confidentiality restrictions, the Business Enterprise Grievance procedures are not an appropriate venue to hear the appeal.  Such appeals shall only be handled in compliance with the appeal procedures provided by the Florida Administrative Procedures Act, Chapter 120, FS.

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Florida Business Enterprise Program

Providing Tools and Support for Legally Blind Vendors in the Food Service Industry

DISCLAIMER: Links on the Florida Division of Blind Services (DBS) website that are directed toward websites outside the DBS, provide additional information that may be useful or interesting and are being provided consistent with the intended purpose of the DBS website. DBS cannot attest to the accuracy of information provided by non-DBS websites. Further, providing links to a non-DBS website does not constitute an endorsement by DBS, the Florida Department of Education or any of its employees, of the sponsors of the non-DBS website or of the information or products presented on the non-DBS website.