Employment Resources for the Disabled
These are resources specifically set up to meet the needs or address the interests of the disabled. You’re certainly not limited to these resources, but they may have ideas or topics which speak directly to you. You may also want to check out The Riley Guide’s page of resources for Diverse Groups, since some of these may list resources and services for you. We also have resources for listings for Veterans / Transitioning Military Personnel. You can also find resources for interpreters for the deaf or hard of hearing under Linguistics and Language Skills.
Quite a few associations and other organizations exist to provide workplace advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities. Some of them work with employers to set up work and internship opportunities for the disabled; others work on behalf of disabled employees to ensure that employers are making proper accommodations; and still others provide training tailored to the needs of disabled people. Many of these resources may be helpful for you, so give them a look and see if any of them provide services that are relevant to your situation.
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is the largest national nonprofit cross-disability member organization in the United States, and it’s dedicated to ensuring economic self-sufficiency and political empowerment for the more than 50 million Americans with disabilities. They not only partner with several employers to offer internship programs specifically for young persons with disabilities – they also actively recruit Washington D.C.-based organizations to participate in the Greater Washington Internship Coalition, offering even more opportunities to these talented students and young professionals. On their website, AAPD.com, you can find lots of info on how they can help you find employment opportunities.
The American Foundation for the Blind provides a free resource called CareerCOnnect on their website, AFB.org. CareerConnect walks you through the process of examining what you have to offer an employer – then enables you to explore possible careers. The site offers tips on finding a job, getting hired, and making that job work for you; and it also provides information on technology to assist you in your job. You can even build your resume online in MyCareerConnect, and search for a volunteer mentor to offer some guidance as you go through your exploration and search. And last but definitely not least, the site offers links to resources for employment listings.
The American Foundation for the Blind provides a free resource called CareerCOnnect on their website, AFB.org. CareerConnect walks you through the process of examining what you have to offer an employer – then enables you to explore possible careers. The site offers tips on finding a job, getting hired, and making that job work for you; and it also provides information on technology to assist you in your job. You can even build your resume online in MyCareerConnect, and search for a volunteer mentor to offer some guidance as you go through your exploration and search. And last but not least, the site offers links to resources for employment listings.
The National Association of the Deaf offers information for the hearing disabled – as well as their families and communities – on their website, NAD.org. You can also learn about sign language and interpreter certification there. The National Business & Disability Council – a large advocacy group for people with disabilities in the workforce – offer a nice job lead database, as well as a free resume database, both of which are open to all college graduates with disabilities.
In addition to the services provided by organizations like those listed in the previous section of this article, the Internet also hosts a variety of websites dedicated to connecting disabled individuals with employment opportunities. While these sites don’t contain the same volume of listings as more broad-based sites like Monster, they’re targeted at helping people with disabilities find work – which means that if you have a disability, they’ll do everything they can to smooth the process for you. Below are a few of the best.
GettingHired.com, meanwhile, offers a searchable, well-populated database of jobs specifically for people with disabilities. Though you do have to register in order to view the actual job listings – and in some cases you must have "an active jobseeker profile" (a resume) in their system to use resources such as the career assessment – this may be worth it in order to gain access to the sheer volume of listings they have available.
Lift-Inc.org has been working with major corporations since 1975 to recruit, train and place people who have physical disabilities. They seek candidates who have both excellent analytical ability and a strong desire to establish – or resume – careers in information technology or information management, and they’ll train qualified candidates without experience. But to actually land a job through them, you’ll have to demonstrate aptitude on some tests, as well as through personal interviews.
JobAccess.org was set up to enable people with disabilities to enhance their professional lives by providing a dedicated system for finding employment. The site requires you to register in order to access the job database, but this is free – and they don’t require you upload a resume until you’re ready. They also have the current job openings from ABILITYMagazine streaming on their Facebook page, so you can view a sample of the jobs they carry through that medium and see if this resource might be right for you.
If you’d like to boost your job search by working with an agency that can actively search for positions for you, several national recruitment agencies and staffing firms focus on partnering disabled people with accommodating and supportive employers. While firms like this typically work with a limited list of clients, they can often find you some kind of work in a short time, compared with the weeks or months you may apply via job boards before you get a worthwhile response. Many career coaches recommend combining both types of resources, just to make sure you don’t miss any promising leads.
HireDS.com is a full-service staffing firm that partners with non-profit organizations, numerous corporations, and Monster.com to assist individuals to find meaningful employment while also aiding employers in finding the very best staffing for their companies. You can easily search the database of employment opportunities and view contact information for the posting organization, but you’ll need to create a Monster.com account in order to apply for these positions. PrideIndustries.com provides support, training and opportunity necessary to help people with disabilities overcome obstacles and find meaningful employment. You can review a list of current openings on their website, and submit a resume in response to any – or, if you prefer, you can call their 24-hour jobs hotline listed on the site.
Some employment resources, on the other hand, are focused in specific geographical areas. Rehabilitation Opportunities (ROIWorks.org) is a community-based nonprofit human services corporation licensed and funded by the state of Maryland working to help adults with developmental and physical disabilities achieve as much independence as possible by providing counseling, job training, good employment, and transportation to and from supervised worksites. And WorkWithoutLimits.org provides valuable resources and information on employment for many audiences, including people with disabilities, family members, employment service providers and employers in the state of Massachusetts. You can easily find similar resources in your city and state by Googling terms like "[name of your city] + disability employment" or "[name of your state] + disability workforce"
A wide variety of additional resources don’t fit neatly into any of the categories above, but are still very handy in their own ways. Some of these are simply pages with workforce tips and advice, while others provide valuable information on your rights and options as a disabled worker – and still others offer opportunities to get involved in disability employment advocacy for yourself.
Linda Carter Batiste of GettingHired’s Job Accommodation Network provides a helpful page of Ideas for Writing an Accommodation Request Letter. This is important, because the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified employees and applicants with disabilities – provided those employees let them know about the situation. This article offers a sample outline for a request letter, along with tips for what to include in it.
Cornell University offers an Internet Primer on Disability and the Workplace. It’s an extensive guide to internet resources dealing with several levels of physical and mental disability and the workplace, complete with good annotations for all resources. Topics include the Americans With Disabilities Act, government sites, worker’s compensation and job hunting – and you’re likely to find a lot of the tips applicable in your own employment journey.
Disability.gov, a site sponsored by several agencies and departments of the federal government, provides one-stop access to information resources important to the disabled. This includes employment, education, housing, transportation, health, income support, civil rights – and even a few job listings. It’s an easy-to-use site, and each area of it includes some resources you’ll probably find useful.
And WhatCanYouDo.org, a campaign for disability employment, is a collaborative effort to promote positive employment outcomes for people with disabilities by encouraging employers and others to recognize the value and talent they bring to the workplace. It’s is a collaborative effort between several organizations, and it’s funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). The site offers information for employers on how they can capitalize on the talents of persons with disabilities, as well as information and resources for teachers and family members, and links to employment support services for people with disabilities.
GettingHired.com — A large database of job listings, geared toward helping people with disabilities find work.
Hire Disability Solutions — A well-connected staffing firm, focused on finding meaningful employment for people with disabilities.
Disability and the Workplace: An Internet Primer — Cornell University’s guide to job-hunting, workplace accommodation and related topics.