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.
The Arc Palm Beach County Employment Services provides supported employment services for individuals who are seeking employment, as well as ongoing support once they are hired. The employment specialist is active in the Palm Beach County community; partnering with businesses to learn about, or help to create, opportunities for inclusive competitive employment for individuals with developmental disabilities. At the same time, the employment specialist works with clients to find out their interests and skills, so that when a position is available that matches the individual’s abilities and desires, a connection is made.
There are three types of employment programs:
- Enclave Employment: This is a group approach to employment where recipients with disabilities work either as a group or individually within an integrated work setting under the supervision of The Arc staff.
- Employment through Vocational Rehabilitation (VR): This is a federal-state program that helps people who have physical or mental disabilities get or keep a job.
- Supportive Employment through Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD): This program assists individuals in getting and maintaining jobs with the help of a job coach/employment specialist.
Autism After 21: SOAR Program - Summer Opportunity for Adult Readiness, this residential program offers career exploration and a chance to experience post-secondary opportunities. The program curriculum focuses on: career exploration and employment, executive function/independent living, social skills, self-determination, financial management and good health practices.
Coalition for Independent Living helps you or your child learn all sorts of skills to help them thrive at work and in society. Instruction ranges from learning to budget, write a resume, look for a job, how to interview, how to cook, do the laundry, feel safe using public transit and for peer support.
Easter Seals STRIVE in Hospitality Program assists individuals with disabilities or other special needs who have a desire to become employed in Palm Beach County’s largest industry—Hospitality and Tourism.
JARC, Jewish Association for Residential Care has two employment training programs:
- Community Works Program: The program allows JARC clients to work at a partner business as a trainee. The clients are paid minimum wage by JARC FL – through the state grant – which essentially gives the partner business free labor. In exchange, the businesses are expected to train, guide and provide a healthy and productive working environment for their respective JARC employees. Each location is supported by a JARC staff person, who supervises and makes sure clients are following instruction.
- Adult Day Training Program: In the adult training program there are 3 tracks, fulfillment (processing outgoing mail), environmental (maintenance skills) and culinary.
Hab Center Boca Raton Developmental Training provides a nurturing, safe environment that provides diverse opportunities to acquire basic and advanced work skills and enhance independent functioning and self-esteem. To maximize independence, we offer training in areas such as vocational skills, socialization, self-advocacy and self-esteem.
Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is a federal-state program that helps people who have physical or mental disabilities get or keep a job. VR is committed to helping people with disabilities find meaningful careers.
Ready Set Work! Helping young adults with varied abilities and challenges develop pre-employment readiness skills to achieve and maintain successful employment.
Stand Among Friends: Stand Among Friends’ Employment Program helps people with disabilities prepare for and find a job they desire.