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.
In Baltimore Jewish Community Services (JCS) offers a full spectrum of employment assistance, including career assessments, SSA benefits counseling, work readiness training, job development and job coaching. JCS is a designated DORS, DDA and MHA provider for Supported Employment.
VSP of Sinai Hospital provides vocational services, for both youth and adults with disabilities. VSP assists individuals in achieving both employment goals and long-term self-sufficiency through a range of training and employment opportunities at VSP’s Seton Business Par facility or within 30-plus Life Bridge Health Departments. Employees provide digital, wide-format printing and mailing services at Seton Business Park headquarters and janitorial services at four federal and state government sites in the Baltimore area.
Another option is to volunteer to gain experience through programs like Jewish Volunteer Connection.
There are also a number of mentoring programs in Maryland that incorporate job-preparedness training and career exploration. Many of these programs focus on specific areas and populations, so be sure to check out their participation requirements. If you do not meet their requirements or they do not serve your area of Maryland, they may have additional resources for you to access.