Employment for People with Disabilities
Gainful employment should be considered and planned for in childhood. If you wait until the last year in high school, you won’t have the best options available. Thought should be taken if the goal is a regular high school degree. Some special education students do not earn a regular degree.
Each state as a department that focuses on employment for people with disabilities.
Virginia’s is called Department of Aging and Rehab Services (DARS)
DARS does assessments to determine what job is the best fit for the person. They provide access to computer labs and adaptive equipment needed for employment. Please note jobs they consider are limited: i.e. Landscaping, food service, home care, etc.
Many colleges now are more accessible to people with disabilities. They may have specialized departments to help students with disabilities during college life. Visit the college to see if it will best fit your needs.
- Think College
- Preparing for Post-Secondary Education
- ACE-IT in College
- Post-Secondary Education & Training
- Disability Resource Offices on Campus
Resources about hiring people with disabilities:
- Employment Service Organizations Interactive Directory – Community Employment Options (CEO) for supported employment
- Didlake – A broad range of Employment Services and more. Located in Northern Virginia.
- Project Search – a business led, one year school-to-work program that takes place entirely at the workplace.
- Start on Success
- Tax Incentives for Businesses
Facts from national surveys about employees with disabilities: Individuals are punctual and rarely miss work due to sickness; they work safely, they work independently, they rarely seek special considerations, they can be modestly accommodated, and they can be considered assets by coworkers.
The Federal Government is working extremely hard to hire people with disabilities. They have internships for college students.
Know your rights in the workplace:
Offer community-based integrated employment BEFORE other services.