According to the United States Department of Labor as of June 2014, the unemployment rate for persons with disabilities was 12.9%, which is twice that of persons without disabilities. According to Jon Viera, Assistive Technologies Specialist, Disability Services, Rollins College, it is important to combat these statistics that are against persons with disabilities by ensuring a, “creative, proactive approach when in the job market, and coming to prospective employers with solutions.” As a job seeker, it is at your discretion when to self-disclose your disability. With this self-disclosure, it is helpful to provide suggestions on accommodations you can be provided in able to perform the essential job functions. In addition to this approach, use your disability as a positive. For example, “Even though I may not be able to do x, because of this, I am really great at y.”
Jon closed with one last piece of advice, “own the disability, it is as much a part of you as your hair color.” Jon provides great insight due to his experience with Disability Services and with identifying as a person with a disability. No matter what the circumstance, employers are always seeking an employee who is confident and comfortable in their own skin.
Jon provided a very comprehensive list of services to assist.
Department of Labor-Office of Disability Employment Policy
Americans with Disabilities Act
Access Lynx *serves Orange/Seminole/Osceola counties, but most areas have similar programs.
Hanna Cody @ Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders (SMYAL) in Washington, DC
As the saying goes, time always flies when you’re having fun. It seems like it was only yesterday that Sabrina and I were moving into the Berkshires and coming home excited after our first days at work. Within a short four weeks, I can already see the growth that has occurred since I entered the Washington Summer Internship program. Just like anyone starting something new, you always begin doubting yourself at first; you question every single one of your actions and always look for confirmation that you haven’t committed some horrible mistake that would to bring your entire workplace to shambles. When I first started at SMYAL, I can safely say that I was that tentative person who wasn’t always confident of her work or abilities. Though I still have doubts, I feel much more confident in my abilities and knowledge. If my boss had told me at the beginning of the summer to plan a donor fundraising event to rejuvenate the Women for SMYAL program all on my own I probably would have panicked. Now, I feel capable and prepared to put together a donor cultivation event all on my own. Read the rest of this blog post here.
Sabrina Kent, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) in Washington, DC
As my time here in DC continues, I continue to grow as a professional. I have felt myself become more comfortable with taking on ambiguous tasks without much direction and finding positive results. My supervisor has an invested interest in NGLCC’s interns continued growth and success during our time at the organization. In order to monitor my growth as a professional, each week I write a detailed report of the projects that I am working on, how I feel I am growing at NGLCC, and what I seek to be challenged by in my internship; this system has encouraged me to be accountable for the growth I am achieving. I have recently been working on becoming a business-oriented, succinct writer, which my supervisor has encouraged and guided me through. Read the rest of this blog post here.
Since the Summer of 2009, the Johnson Family Foundation has provided grant funding to send Rollins students to Washington, DC to intern with LGBT advocacy organizations. This summer, Sabrina Kent and Hanna Cody were selected for this program. They have been asked to post periodic blog entries, sharing their experience with our blog readership over the summer.