Individuals of varying ability can work! As you consider entering the workforce, you should do some career exploration. This allows you to examine your skills, interests, preferences and abilities and how they might match up with various jobs and careers. One idea is to take a self-assessment, which gives you a snapshot of your personality, skills, interests and preferences.
If you are not yet ready to take on a career, but know you are interested, one idea is to job shadow/find a mentor. This provides the opportunity to spend a day with an individual in their place of employment learning about how they spend their day, the type of work they do, and their work environment. Individuals may set up shadowing opportunities through their school, college, or by networking with individuals around them.
Disability Mentoring Day
Disability Mentoring Day is “a nationwide effort to promote career development for students with disabilities through hands-on career exploration.” Disability Mentoring Day takes place every October in conjunction with Disability Employment Awareness Month. For more information, visit the American Association of People with Disabilities website.
Once you are ready to work, you may need to ask for certain accommodations. But, what is a reasonable accommodation and how do you request one? A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a job or work environment that allows you to fully participate in all employment related activities. As a job seeker or an employee, it is your responsibility to request accommodations. Resources such as the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) can help determine the best accommodation for you. A reasonable accommodation may be requested at any time.
Accommodations are not limited to only your job functions. Your place of business should provide accessible break rooms, cafeterias, restrooms and transportation, if company provided.
There are a number of places in Georgia that can help with supported employment.
Jewish Family & Career Services’ Developmental Disabilities Services - Tools for Independence WORKS encompasses the day and vocational arm of Developmental Disabilities Services - Tools for Independence, which offers a day program, evaluations, prevocational assessment and support, job coaching and supported employment, so adults with disabilities can find and maintain work that utilizes their greatest talents and abilities. They team with employers and organizations throughout the community to find the most appropriate vocational experiences and volunteer opportunities for clients.
The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) offers supported employment services. Supported Employment services are ongoing supports to assist individuals with locating and maintaining meaningful employment in their communities. Supports are designed to capture the individual’s strengths, needs, and interest. For more information, please contact the Coordinator of Supported Employment Services at (404) 463-6582.
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) provides services to help eligible persons with disabilities prepare for, start and maintain competitive employment, thus becoming productive and independent citizens in their communities. VR has more than 35 offices statewide with expert teams who work in the community and have in-depth knowledge of both the marketplace and the support services available.