If you have a disability, it can be particularly difficult to find employment opportunities for a number of reasons.
For instance, there may be additional limitations on certain jobs that may make you ineligible to apply, or you may face possible discrimination from employers or coworkers. Although there are several federal laws that mandate that people with disabilities need to have access to suitable, full-time jobs, people with disabilities face higher than average unemployment rates in the country.
Luckily, there are many different governmental and non-governmental organizations that are dedicated to helping people with disabilities find and secure employment opportunities. These groups vary from one to another. Some groups focus on building a community for disabled individuals that provides support, information and necessary services to anyone in need. Other groups focus on the professional aspect of things and provide resources that help people with disabilities to have equal access to the job market.
Discover Federal Programs That Help People with Disabilities Develop Professionally
There are many different programs sponsored and administered by the federal government that help people with disabilities have the same access to jobs that people without disabilities can access. Many companies working with the federal government participate in the Schedule A Hiring Authority. This helps people with disabilities to apply for federal government jobs by having access to a faster and less competitive hiring process.
If you have a disability, you may benefit from using the website USAjobs.gov, which is the federal government’s primary web portal for employers and job seekers. This website provides search and filtering options that can help you to see which jobs may fall under Schedule A and also help you to see which jobs can offer physical accommodations for certain disabilities.
Applicants may also benefit from the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP), which is one of the biggest federal programs dedicated to helping disabled applicants find jobs. The WRP helps to connect federal employers with motivated job seekers with disabilities. Also, applicants can receive customized help with learning what opportunities they are most qualified for.
Learn About Job Programs for Disabled Youth and Students
Although many programs offer assistance to all disabled individuals, there are also groups that are designed to help disabled youth and students. These groups typically aim to help students stay in school and get a college education or transition into the workforce to develop on a professional level. A few of these programs include, but are not limited to:
- Career Opportunities to Students with Disabilities (COSD) – This program provides college students with disabilities with assistance with their career pathways. The program helps students search for suitable jobs and also connects them with hiring employers as well.
- Bridges to Work – This organization helps students with disabilities transition out of high school special needs education and into the workforce. They complete this by helping to connect new graduates with hiring employers to fill entry-level positions at many different companies.
- AAPD – Summer Internship Program – Interested students and recent graduates with disabilities can join the program to work with government officials in Washington D.C. through summer internships and work-study programs. The AAPD program also covers the costs of housing and living expenses for qualifying students.
- RespectAbility – The National Leadership Program – Disabled individuals who are interested in politics, social issues, leadership and other public issues can explore those areas with this program. The program helps participants to get a firsthand look at how different organizations work and helps to inspire disabled youth to become leaders in their communities.
- Entry Point! STEM Internships for Students with Disabilities – This program helps students with disabilities gain access to internships and other opportunities in science, engineering, mathematics, computer science and business through the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Find Out About Job Programs for Disabled Veterans
Many people with disabilities in the United States are also veterans of the armed forces. These individuals are considered particularly at-risk of unemployment and homelessness because of the increased difficulties associated with transitioning from the military to civilian. There are many federal and non-governmental programs that exist to help veterans with disabilities find jobs, including the following:
- Hire Heroes USA – Employment resources for Veterans with Disabilities – This organization is designed to help veterans with or without disabilities to receive valuable job training and access to job listings in the area. It is a nonprofit organization that helps to create employment opportunities for both U.S. Military Veterans and their spouses.
- Veterans Administration’s Social Work Services (SWS) – The SWS administers a big group of federal programs that help veterans transition into civilian life. The Department of Veteran Affairs’ Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service organizes career and training resources for former servicemen and women with or without disabilities throughout the year.
- Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) – Veterans with disabilities who wish to start their own business can benefit greatly from this program. The EBV offers disabled vets opportunities to receive small business management and entrepreneurship training for free.
- Bonds of Courage – The Bonds of Courage organization helps veterans by providing them with a Career Fitness and Mentoring Program. This program helps vets with disabilities learn how to prepare for interviews, how to network and more.
Discover Programs to Help People with Disabilities Start Businesses
In addition to there being job programs designed to help disabled individuals find existing job opportunities, there are also organizations that assist disabled individuals with starting their own businesses. These programs help by sponsoring entrepreneurship training programs and more. A few of the most popular business-centered disability organizations include the following:
- Bender Consulting Services
- Disability Solutions at Ability Beyond
- National Business and Disability Council (NBDC) at The Viscardi Center
- National Organization on Disability (NOD)
- Return on Disability
- Talent Acquisition Portal (TAP)
- US Business Leadership Network (USBLN)
It is important to explore the many different organizations and programs to decide which options are best suited for you. To learn more about any of the organizations listed, visit their website for more information.