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Careers For The Disabled

It's sometimes difficult for individuals with handicaps, to find jobs for the disabled. Despite references to "equal opportunity employer" and the American Disabilities Act, there's still widespread prejudice. Keep a positive "can-do" attitude and follow these steps to succeed in your job search.

A disabled individual must have persistence to find a job. Believe you can do whatever is asked of you and be willing to prove it. Networking is important. Get involved with local nonprofit organizations and make connections with people. Let them know what your skills are. Research possible tax advantages for companies who offer jobs for the disabled, and show the prospective employer how they will benefit by giving you a chance.

 

How to Find Jobs for the Disabled

Step 1: Take advantage of vocational rehabilitation services. Every state has a VR department that trains individuals with handicaps and helps them find jobs for the disabled. Push for computer training, which will make you more employable.

Step 2: Contact national and local organizations that help individuals find jobs for the disabled.  Start with the American Association of People with Disabilities. They offer an annual mentoring program and publish a list of employment opportunities. Call and ask them about organizations in your local area that can help.

Step 3: Take an internship job at a nonprofit or for-profit organization. The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) has a list of internship opportunities on their website. Demonstrate your work ethic by expressing a willingness to perform duties not included in the job description.

Step 4: Look for a position with the federal government. They claim to be a model for the commercial and nonprofit sectors in disability hiring, so hold them to it! Your state vocational rehabilitation office can help you get noncompetitive federal employment jobs. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management has information about federal jobs for the disabled.

Step 5: Educate employers in your area about the disabled. Many assume disabled individuals can't keep up with job demands. Explain that the employer might need to make accommodations in some cases, it doesn't hinder a disabled person's ability to fulfill assigned duties. You'll be doing yourself and other disabled people a favor.

Careers, Training and Jobs for the Disabled

It is simply amazing how much the Internet has altered and forever changed the world in recent years.  Every aspect of life has been touched in some way or another by the Internet and instant access to information.  At times it does indeed seem as though there is too much information at our fingertips!  However, this also means that there is an amazing amount of information available concerning handicapped jobs, and jobs for the disabled, and where to find them. 



Some of the more popular sites on the Internet are job sites dedicated to helping people find jobs, no matter what their skills or educational backgrounds.  Increasingly, people are turning towards the Internet for their job searches. People with handicaps are finding that the Internet is a valuable asset in helping to find jobs for the disabled as well.

Before the days of the Internet, disabled people had to approach the job market using far more “guesswork.” Today, websites and online resources are readily available to help disabled people find jobs. Yet, while the Internet has developed into a remarkable source of job information, it is not the only source available.  Let’s take a look at some of the options available for disabled individuals looking to find training and jobs for the disabled.

Connections, Connections, Connections

No matter who you are or what your background might be, one of the best places to start any job search is to work your existing connections and make new ones.  Simply asking the people you know or are acquainted with if they know of any openings, or companies that pay special attention to offering jobs for the disabled is an easy way to get a job lead.  While this may sound basic, many people consistently overlook this option.  Further, the Internet era means that many of us have vast virtual social networks thanks to websites like Facebook, and other social networking outlets. 

If you post messages to your friends stating that you were looking for disability work, it is completely possible that you might find a few leads.  Remember this key fact - most people will want to be helpful - especially if it’s easy for them to do so.  If all that is required of them is to send you a quick email with some contact information, many people will be pleased to lend a hand.  By letting as many people know that you are “in the market,” you greatly increase your chances of finding either a handicapped job or an interesting lead that will eventually manifest into a job for the disabled.  You are, after all, marketing yourself. You are the product!  Keep this fact firmly in your mind, as this should influence every step of your search for careers for the disabled.

Another way to meet people who are sensitive to the needs of disabled people is through online forums. There are quite a large amount of forums where people meet up online and talk about a wide variety of issues and topics including careers for the disabled and others, facing disabled people. These types of websites allow you to meet a lot of people quickly.  Keep in mind that all of these people are potential job leads once you put the word out there.

Even some job sites offer forums where you can meet new people and share your career goals. Gettinghired.com, for example, is a career site, which assists people in finding jobs for the disabled. This website also has a forum and mentoring network which can be found at  http://www.gettinghired.com/Tour/MakeConnections.aspx.



In terms of networking, find local organizations for the disabled that you can join.  The more people that know you,  know your skills and know what kind of career for the disabled you are seeking, the better!

Social Networking for the Disabled and Their Friends

Blueverse
www.blueverse.net

Disaboom
www.disaboomlive.com

Disabled Online
www.disabledonline.com/community

Forums Dedicated to Disabled Guests

Gettinghired.com
www.gettinghired.com/Tour/MakeConnections.aspx

Disability Community
community.disabled-world.com/forum

Youreable.com
http://www.youreable.com

Accessify Forum
www.accessifyforum.com

New Mobility Magazine’s Forum
www.newmobility.com/bb/ubbthreads.php


List of Social Networking Sites that Can Lead to Jobs for the Disabled:

www.linkedin.com
www.facebook.com
www.twitter.com
www.doostang.com
www.theladders.com

Applying for Jobs for the Disabled

So what is the proper etiquette to apply for jobs for the disabled? Many experts recommend that you only mention your disability if the application form specifically asks you if you are disabled.  Otherwise, you may simply want to call a few days before the interview and tell them about your disability.  Remember that it is illegal for potential employers to discriminate against the disabled.

You will also find that some job ads specifically mention that they are well-equipped for workers who are disabled.  These are the type of leads that are generally more worth your time to pursue.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Every state has vocational rehabilitation services that can assist you if you are disabled. This department helps people land jobs for the disabled, and it also offers training on new skills that might expand the range of jobs you are able to get.  To find out about how to take advantage of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, just go online and cross reference your state with the term “Vocational Rehabilitation Services” to find the proper website for the state in which you live. Once you have found the closest office to you, simply sign up to receive assistance. You can also find the full list of Vocational Rehabilitation Service Offices state by state listed at this link:

 http://www.jan.wvu.edu/cgi-win/TypeQuery.exe?902

Keep in mind that in some states, there are separate agencies to help the blind and visually impaired.

If you are a disabled veteran, you can learn more about the Chapter 31 program at www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre.  This government program helps people with service-connected disabilities to find and keep suitable jobs, and careers for the disabled. The program includes training, apprenticeships, career planning and other employment services.

Employment Resources for the Disabled

When it comes to employment resources for the disabled, there are many avenues through which you can learn more.  Today, there are a variety of information outlets concerning employment and careers for the disabled that are focused on helping the disabled find new jobs and new careers.

Of course, there are a great many sites such as Monster.com that list thousands of new jobs for the disabled everyday.  There are also job resources on the Internet that specialize in helping the disabled find jobs as well.  One such online resource is ABILITY Magazine’s website www.jobaccess.org.  Jobaccess.org allows employers to post new jobs and prospective employees to post their resumes.



It is important to keep in mind that roughly seven percent of the U.S. Federal workforce is disabled.  Executive Order 13078 and the Americans With Disabilities Act have greatly increased awareness among those responsible for hiring within the Federal Government.  The simple fact that the Federal Government currently employs nearly 210,000 people with disabilities is good news. This means that this is one very vast potential employer that should most definitely be investigated with some vigor and excitement.  Federal Jobs Net to explore this option in more detail.

Disability.gov, located at www.disability.gov, is another great resource for people seeking jobs for the disabled. This website helps people find jobs and much, much more. There are also resources on this site to help you learn about disability laws, find grants, choose health care and even start your own small business.

Another potential resource is the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).  This non-profit organization was founded in 1995 and is one of the largest organizations for people with disabilities in the United States.  The AAPD Internship Program places those in the program in a wide variety of government positions in the Washington DC area, including IT internships. They also publish a list of job openings.

The idea of internships, of course, does bring up a good point.  Internships are another way of networking and marketing one’s self.  Often internships are brief in duration but may ultimately lead to a job either directly or indirectly. Often people land great jobs fopr the disabled by means of internships.  Often it is a good way to get your “foot in the door.”  Even if the internship doesn’t lead to a job, it will inevitably be a good resume booster that you can use to apply for future careers for the disabled.

Job Sites Specializing in Helping the Disabled:

Job Access
www.jobaccess.org

American Association of People with Disabilities
www.aapd.com

Gettinghired.com
www.gettinghired.com

AFB Career Connect 
www.afb.org/Section.asp?SectionID=7

Disability.gov
www.disability.gov

Hire Disability Solutions
www.hireds.com

Earnworks
www.earnworks.com

Disabled Person
www.disabledperson.com/signup

One More Way
www.onemoreway.org

Ability Links
www.abilitylinks.org

National Business and Disability Council 
www.nbdc.com

Other Job Sites:

www.federaljobs.net
www.monster.com
www.careerbuilder.com
www.hotjobs.yahoo.com
www.jobster.com
www.thingamajob.com
www.careeronestop.gov 

 

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