Author: Tanya Lee, (Founder AbilityVillage and disability advocate)
There’s no single answer to that question that makes sense for every person, regardless of their disability status. However, as a person with a disability, you may be wondering what types of employment options are available for you. The answer to that question is as wide open as the sky.
Gourmet HR presents this post for young adults with disabilities getting ready to embark on their first career endeavor.
Jobs That Pay $50,000+ Per Year
When you’re looking for a job, the obvious first question is, “How much will I make?” You may be concerned that, as a person with a disability, your options will be limited. This is no more limiting than a person without a disability who does not want to work at an onsite manufacturing job. There are still plenty of high-paying professions that don’t require the need for mobility or on site work. According to Career Karma, jobs that pay well include proofreading, digital marketing, and translation. Fortunately, each of these is a knowledge-based profession, which you can do from home.
Okay, How Do I Get My First Job?
In many professions, it’s more about who you know than what you know. Because of this, one of your first duties as an emerging professional is to set up a LinkedIn account. LinkedIn is the social media of the business world. Your profile, which should include a photograph; positive, upbeat, and professional content; and your experience, is a great way to get to know people in your upcoming industry. You never know when an online connection may be looking for someone just like you. More companies realize that a strong culture that includes diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility are more profitable and have less turnover than their competitors, Small Business Administration, n.d. Retrieved from https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/manage-your-business/hire-employees-disabilities/
Home Office Success
Many people with disabilities choose a career that allows for remote work. Fortunately, these are more plentiful nowadays than ever. You must still have a functional home office, which the Tough Nickel blog asserts should include the tools you need for success, such as an accessible office desk and the right technology.
Companies That Actively Recruit Workers With Disabilities
Pretty much all businesses these days understand the value of diversity in the workplace. While we tend to think about this as racial and gender inclusion, hiring people with disabilities makes sense as well. Companies such as 3M, which has a very clear policy on its diversity hiring practices, and Google, which states its dedication to supporting employees with disabilities right on its website, offer many high-paying careers, even for those who need the flexibility of working from home.
The Disability Discussion
In the United States, it is illegal for an employer to outright ask about your disability or limitations until you have made the initiative to disclose this information. In some states the discussion Visible disabilities, such as the use of a wheelchair, may invite a discussion about accommodation needs prior to the job offer. Now more than ever, employers want to provide a working environment that is accessible and inclusive. It’s typically best to refocus your potential employers’ attention on what you can do so that they better understand the value of providing accommodations for what you can’t. Something to keep in mind here, according to the US Department of Labor, is that you are entitled to workplace accommodations only after you disclose your disability. State laws may vary and be more restrictive than the Federal law.
When the day is done, and you have your degree in hand, you can absolutely go after any job you want. Having a disability does put you at a disadvantage, however, when it comes to mobility and, sometimes, logistics. To sidestep some of these issues, start by building your LinkedIn network. Then, set yourself up for success with a great home office and a clear and honest conversation with your employer about what you need and why you’re the best candidate for the job. Focus on your skills and job requirements.
Gourmet HR offers a host of human resources services, including recruiting, handbooks, training manuals, audit compliance, employee relations, benefits, and more.
Tanya’s inspiration for starting AbilityVillage came from her younger brother, Charlie. Charlie has cerebral palsy, and she’s watched him overcome immense obstacles his whole life. While his cognitive abilities aren’t affected by his CP, his physical abilities are. She’s seen through his experiences how different the world can be for those who are differently abled, and she hopes that through this site, she’ll be able to encourage others to make their communities more accessible to every citizen.