Career Resources for Students with Disabilities
The HSC Career Readiness Center is committed to helping students with visible and non-visible disabilities find gainful and satisfying employment and continued educational pursuits in their field of choice. To meet these objectives, we have compiled a list of resources, which we hope will help with questions you may have about disclosure, accommodations, and your legal rights and responsibilities. This list is by no means exhaustive. In addition, we have provided some sites where you can begin your search for a job or internship. Finally, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with one of our team members for further consultation. We are here to assist you with every step of this process.
Meet with Team Member
Contact the Career Readiness Center to schedule an appointment with one of our team members who can work with you to explore career opportunities.
- Career advising is a collaborative and confidential space where you can work with an advisor to clarify goals while exploring your values, interests, skills, and personality. An advisor can support you through the decision-making process as you apply to fulltime or part-time positons, internships, consider additional graduate school, and develop a plan for moving forward.
How to Get Experience
The best way to prepare for life after graduation is to find experiences that will allow you to develop skills you can apply in the workplace. Whether it is a paid or unpaid position, clinical or non-clinical, it is important to choose experiences that help you explore your interests and fit with your career goals.
Skill-building experiences may include the following activities:
- community organizing
- academic projects
- shadowing professionals
- part-time positions
- leadership roles in student groups
- study abroad/international service experiences
Come to one of our career events or workshops, visit us for a virtual or in-person appointment, or meet with a staff member during available hours to learn how to communicate the value of your experiences through your application materials (resume, cover letter, writing sample, or personal statement), in an interview, or as you network.
Connect to Alumni and Other Professionals
Start by asking friends, family members, professors, and classmates if they know people they can connect you with. And don’t be afraid to reach out to people you find through professional networking media such as LinkedIn and HSC Connect, even if you haven’t met before. Check some sample e-mails (sample 1, sample 2) that you can adapt when contacting potential connections.
- Alumni: You can connect with HSC alumni as well as current students, faculty and staff through a variety of online tools. As stated above, the primary way to connect is through the HSC LinkedIn page, as well as HSC Connect. In addition, alumni come to campus for various activities and events to meet students during networking events, panels, classroom presentations, research days, job fairs, and other activities throughout the academic year. Check in regularly with your event calendars to stay on top of what is happening on campus.
- Professional Associations and Affinity Groups: Most professional associations offer student memberships at a discount, and memberships usually come with access to programs such as speaker events or job fairs. You can search for professional associations using the Directory of Associations. Some are specific to certain cultural groups while others will have diversity divisions. Employers may also organize affinity groups for their employees in order to provide a space for business and social inclusion.
- Mentoring: If you form a strong connection with someone, such as an alumna or other professional, you may consider asking her to be your mentor. Read these tips on choosing a mentor and check the HSC Connect Mentoring page.
Disclosing Your Status to Employers
It can be confusing and stressful to decide when and with whom to share your status. Throughout the job search and hiring process it is important to provide information that is true and authentic, however, you ultimately get to decide whether or not to share your status. Come in to talk with a staff member about strategies for disclosing your status at different points in the process.
You may decide to share your status with an organization early in the hiring process or in an interview if you feel comfortable doing so, and to start a discussion about how to move forward in the process. It is important to consider who you would want to disclose to (sharing with a recruiter vs. a supervisor) and in what manner (disclosing in a personal statement for grad school vs. in an interview). Information is available on disclosure—including tips on when, how and to whom—on the U.S. Office of Disability Employment Policy page. If you are unsure about whether and how to disclose your status, we invite you to meet with one of the career center’s career counselors to discuss further.
Evaluating Employers on Whether They Honor Diversity
To find out if an employer has created an inclusive work environment, consider some of these tips:
- Is the organization on Diversity Inc.’s Top 50 or other national lists for their diversity policies and programs? What are the criteria for making the list?
- Can you find a diversity philosophy or policy on their website?
- Are there any programs or resources for employees focused around issues of concern or for you? For example, Marriott’s diversity and inclusion councils.
- What do others (for example: peers, alumni, current employees) say about the organizational culture? Keep in mind that every opinion, good or bad, may come with some amount of bias.
How to Handle Workplace Discrimination
Workforce discrimination occurs in many ways. There are federal laws that prohibit discrimination against individuals on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, pregnancy, and age. Employers are responsible for complying with the law, but you are responsible for making sure you know and protect your rights.
- Illegal Interview Questions
Did you know that it is against the law for employers to ask you certain questions in a job interview? To learn more about what topics are off-limits and what to do if you are asked about them, see “Handling improper interview questions” in this Interview Preparation Guide
- Discrimination in the workplace
If you experience discrimination once you have started a job, here are some tips and information about dealing with employment discrimination.
Job and Internship Resources
- Workforce Recruitment Program — WRP connects undergraduate, graduate students and recent graduates with disabilities who are interested paid internships and full-time opportunities to private sector employers and federal agencies.
- Our Ability/Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities — Discover how Our Ability/COSD can help you find a meaningful career as you navigate through school.
- Bender Consulting assists individuals with disabilities in getting hired and recruited for positions within the private and public sector.
- Lime Connect — Lime Connect assists student with scholarships, professional development webinars along with information about internships and full-time job opportunities.
- American Association for Advancement of the Sciences Entry Point is a program that offers internship opportunities for students with disabilities. Internships range in discipline from computer science, business to science and engineering.
- disABLEd Person, Inc. — Great resource for job listings and scholarship information.
- The National Business and Disability Council at the Viscardi Center provides students with internship and leadership development opportunities.
- The American Association of People with Disabilities provides a Congressional Internship Program for college students with disabilities. It’s open to undergraduate and graduate students, in addition to recent grads.
- Great With Disability — Their mission is to ensure that having a disability or long-term health condition doesn’t prevent anyone from having the career that they want to have. Not only does it want disabled individuals to realize their career ambitions, it also wants employers to benefit from the unique talents and strengths that disabled individuals can, and do, bring to an organization.
- The Sierra Group — one stop shop for disability training recruiting and other career needs.
- Federal Jobs Net — helps disabled individuals find federal government employment.
- Office of Personnel Management (OPM) — consult the “Job Seekers with Disabilities” link for a variety of resources.
- Ability Links — job opportunity website for people with disabilities.
- Hire Disability Solutions — job opportunity website for people with disabilities and employers seeking to recruit them.
- Career Eco – A free virtual career fair service that often includes job fair opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Professional Organizations and Associations
Most professional associations offer student memberships at a discount, and memberships usually come with access to programs such as speaker events and job fairs.
- Our Ability/Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities
- American Foundation for the Blind
- U.S. Business Leadership Network
- Association for Higher Education and Disability
- American Association of People with Disabilities
- National Organization on Disability
- National Business & Disability Council
- Job Accommodation Network — JAN has information on job accommodations and additional resources.
- Office of Disability and Employment Policy — Provides articles and resources on national leadership focused on disability and employment policy.
- Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 Titles I and V — specific information on employment discrimination laws.
- Respect Ability — source for news, education and other resources regarding issues facing people with disabilities.
HSC Campus Resources
- Office of Disability Access – A unit of the Division of Student and Academic Affairs, the Office of Disability Access is committed to assisting students with disabilities and providing academic accommodations to ensure equal access. The office is responsible for:
- Receiving and retaining documentation substantiating a need for disability accommodations
- Acting as the central referral agency when accommodations are necessary because of specific limitations
- Serving as a liaison between students, faculty, and staff to determine the appropriateness of accommodations