Employment Assistance

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It’s a sad fact that people with disabilities have a significantly higher level of unemployment than the rest of the population, even though many are well-suited for most workplaces.

The ability of a person to obtain – and maintain – meaningful and productive employment is dependent in many ways on the quality of his or her access to higher education, vocational programs and skill development. Employment assistance offered by the government, non-profit agencies, or educational institutions can fill the training and employment gap that prevents people who are willing and eager to work from earning a sustainable paycheck.

There are many factors that may hold people back from employment, but having a disability shouldn’t be one of them.

If you have a disability and are seeking meaningful employment, the following is a list of resources to turn to for assistance.

National workforce development initiatives

National workforce development initiatives are intended to help people with disabilities, or people who have difficulty finding employment for a myriad of other reasons, obtain employment. For adults with disabilities – whether degreed or not – state workforce development and vocational rehabilitation agencies coordinate job counseling and evaluation, job training, skill development, job interview skills, and placement services to individuals directly, and through smaller community agencies.

To learn more about federal workforce development initiatives:

State vocational agencies

State vocational agencies receive federal dollars to support federal programs. Generally, to learn more about what programs may exist in specific communities, contact the following agencies in your state:

Employment agencies and staffing services

Some national employment agencies and staffing services, like Adecco and Manpower, have workforce development divisions or initiatives to further national employment initiatives for individuals with disabilities. Individuals are urged to contact the national office to inquire about the employment agencies’ workforce development program for persons with disabilities. The national headquarters will then place candidates in contact with the appropriate division heads or regional coordinators. A top-down approach usually works better than walking into the local employment agency to inquire.

Adecco

Manpower

Private sector and non-profit resources

In addition, private firms and non-profit groups also offer programs to help people with disabilities find work. Some of these service providers have inclusive hiring programs that are funded by grants from the government.

One such agency is the National Center on Workforce and Disability (NCWD) which provides access in workforce development for all. They conduct the One-Stop Centers program that coordinates employment and training services for job seekers at three distinct levels – core services, intensive services and training. For more information:

Vocational rehabilitation agencies may have specific community-based programs and partnerships with local businesses that provide employment opportunities to individuals with disabilities. For the job-seeker, these programs can be a wonderful starting point because the hiring companies have already committed to hiring people with disabilities, which renders questions about reasonable accommodation and other issues moot.

The employment opportunities provided through partnerships and placements have all sorts of features; they may have an on-site mentor or guide to help supervise and assist workers, skill training and development to meet the demands of the open positions, and tax incentives for employers committed to the program. Duties are as varied as assembling items, sorting items, restaurant work or computer data entry, to name but a few.

With the advent of the internet, many new job boards that cater to the needs of job-seekers with disabilities have appeared.

For a contact list of job boards and services, see the list to the left

Obtaining employment in today’s environment – for anyone – is a difficult task. People with disabilities should remember that they have as much to offer the workplaces as anyone else and that there are many resources available to them as they seek to lead rewarding and productive lives.

Employment Resources

For information on national legislation regarding employment for individuals with disabilities:

For information on disability discrimination and the workforce:

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

For employment statistics for individuals with disabilities:

For government agencies assisting with employment initiatives:

For job boards for individuals with disability:

Employment

job applicant filling out application

Employment

The ability of a person to obtain – and maintain – meaningful and productive employment is dependent in many ways on the quality of his or her access to higher education, vocational programs or skill development. Employment assistance offered by the government, non-profit agencies, or educational institutions can fill the training and employment gap that prevents people are willing and eager to work from earning a sustainable paycheck. Employment Assistance

About employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities

Reduced government funding affects one man’s ability to work

Michigan man’s story illustrates the importance government-funded assistants can play in the lives of individuals with disability, and how difficult it can be to navigate government services.
Robert’s Story