The Student Life Disability Services Career Resources Page is designed to provide access to career information and resources available in the OSU university community and beyond.
Click the links below to navigate this page:
The Americans with Disability's Act prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. It also limits the information employers can obtain from a job applicant. The only exception to this is that a government agency can ask an applicant to voluntarily disclose a disability for affirmative action purposes. Otherwise, if you encounter specific questions about your disability or medical history, what should you do? Do you have a visible disability? Perhaps you should give an explanation of how you can do the job. Do you have an invisible disability? Perhaps you should leave the question blank on the application. Although this seems risky, this can give you the opportunity to explain why you did not answer the questions instead of why you intentionally gave false answers. Keep in mind; you should focus on your abilities to perform the essential functions of the job, not your disabilities. How you promote yourself in the interview is what will be key in determining if you are the right candidate to do the job they want done. According to Job Interviews for Dummies (*1) (see cite below), it is okay to:
- “Ask to give a demonstration of how you can complete aspects of the job. It if is practical, bring your own equipment (including software, hardware, assistive technology/ adaptive equipment”, AND do not anticipate being able to install into the employers system).
- “If it is impractical, recount an experience or example from your last job that describes how you were able to complete the task(s).”
- “Anticipate essentials to job performance (anything in the job description) the interviewer may be worried about- such as physical mobility, safety and motor coordination. If you have a vision impairment or hearing impairment, expect some concerns that you’ll miss visual or aural cues essential to job performance- Also, explain how you’ve adapted in these areas or will overcome obstacles.”
- “Utilize references who can testify your abilities to do the job (previous teachers, counselors, employers, supervisors, etc…).”
Keep in mind that once disclosed, the employer may ask additional questions about the disability and/or require information regarding the individual’s ability to safely perform the essential functions of the job. In general, the information revealed has to be kept confidential.
Job Interviews for Dummies also has other ideas to help promote yourself to employers including:
- Promise that your requirements for the job are minimal and give examples of how your skills will merit the company’s small investment.
- Offer to provide some of your own software and equipment- you are not required to do so but the offer shows serious interest in contributing to the company. Keep in mind that agencies such as the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation or Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired (BSVI) are eager to work with you to provide workplace accommodations such as software, hardware, environmental modifications to assist you in obtaining and maintaining employment. Employers are aware of this and can receive a tax benefit as they work with agency. You can also provide a list of companies and contact information of places that sell assistive technology and adaptive equipment.
- Try not to act demanding because you think the ADA is protecting you. A bad attitude will not get hired. Also do not cite the ADA laws and requirements or threaten legal action. Again, bad attitudes will not get hired and employers tend to stay away from the litigious types.
So what should you do? Be aware of your rights. Be ready to sell your abilities and what you can bring to the company. Do a good resume and cover letter. Review them twice. Then have someone else review them. Practice interviewing and complete mock interviews. Practice disability related questions in the mock interviews. Utilize your local resources such as your Departmental Career Services for Opportunities/ Job Fairs in your desired field. Career Connections is another on campus resource that can assist you from career development to the interview. BVR/ BSVI can assist you with job development, placement, and job related accommodations and modifications.
What are your rights in job interviews? Do you have other questions that you would like to see answered? Visit the Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment here http://webapps.dol.gov/dolfaq/dolfaq.asp. The following is a link to a video pertaining to the "right" and "wrong" to disclose disability during an interview:
Kennedy, Jyce Lain. Job Interviews for Dummies. 3rd Edition, pages 277-278. Wiley Publishing, 2008.
There are two offices on campus that support the career exploration and development of students at OSU.
Career Counseling and Support Services also offers a webpage with career resources for people with disabilities. Visit their page for more information here.
- Job Accommodation Network - A useful site with job hunting tips, ideas for accommodations broken down by disability, links for adaptive equipment, and ADA information.
- Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD/BVR/BSVI) - A state agency that provides employment related services to people with disabilities, including training, job placement, job coaching, and job related accommodations.
A registered Disability Services student can contact their Disability Services Access Specialist for a referral to BVR/ BSVI.
- Center for Vocational Alternatives (COVA) - provides job placement services for people with mental illness, including Benefits Analysis (review of what you can make in a job if you receive SSI or SSDI), and Rehabilitation Readiness (series of classes offered for free for people with mental illness entering or re-entering the workforce—classes focus on resources, what you need to know, dealing with your disability in the workplace, interviewing tips, etc.) (614) 294-7117.
- Career Opportunities for Student with Disabilities
- This website offers information on COSD, a national and professional association that is comprised with over 600 colleges and 500 major national employers. The mission of the association is to increase the employment rate of people with disabilities. The site provides background on the organization and their initiatives for assisting recent graduates with disabilities in career preparation. There is also information for higher education institutions and employeers on products and services that COSD can provide to help accommodate employees with disabilities.
This site provides information for people with disabilities considering going to work while still being able to receive disability benefits. For example, income support programs for people with disabilities, such as Social Security Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income, and for applying for benefits and filing appeals. Also, there is information on work incentives and information for understanding the Ticket to Work program and other programs that the government provides for people with disabilities to return to work or continue working while receiving benefits. This site is also helpful for understanding and being aware of the most recent laws and regulations related to the American Disability Act and Social Security, as well as laws on housing, education, and voting.
- National Federation of the Blind- Resources for Working
This site provides resources for both those seeking employment and employers. For people seeking employment, there are a variety of discussion boards that can be accessed and uses, links to training centers, technology centers, and state and local organizations. For employers, there are resources for information on Braille signs, courtesy rules of blindness, laws and regulations, and information about how to accommodate blind and low vision employees.
- College Resources for Visually Impaired Students - Provides information on accommodations, scholarships, and assistive technologies.
- National Business and Disability Council
This site provides resources on how to disclose a disability, as well as how to network, write a resume, and construct an elevator speech. There are also links to job search engines and career events taking place around the country. People can post resumes as well as look at other resumes on the site. There is also information on ADA Compliance laws, reasonable accommodations to ask for, and specialized equipment needed to perform particular jobs.
- Office of Disability Employment Policy, United States Department of Labor
- This site provides information for both job seekers with disabilities as well as employers of people with disabilities. Office of Disability Employment Policy does not enforce any laws, but makes them easy to access as well as provides resources such as information on assistive technology, education and training for the job search, as well as employment support.
- Guide to Volunteer and Nonprofit Careers
- This guide is for students and young professionals seeking careers in the non-profit sector. It includes a detailed rundown of specific fields, organizations, and job titles with strong connections to non-profit work. It also discusses the importance of volunteering, and how donating time can serve as a bridge to a full-time, paid position.
Workforce Recruitment Programis a collaborative effort between the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the Job Accommodation Network. This program recruits and screens qualified college students with disabilities for summer or permanent positions. Phone interviews will be held during Autumn Semester. By the end of December, the student’s information is placed on a database that is then made available to employers in the public and private sector. Interested employers can make contact with students to offer employment. For more information, please visit www.wrp.gov. Contact your Disability Services Access Specialist if you are interested in this opportunity.
Wright Choice is a nonprofit organization based out of Columbus who helps students with disabilities with job readiness skills and locating internship opportunities. For more information, please visit www.wrightchoice.org.
Entry Point is a program through the American Association for the Advancement of Science that recruits, interviews, and refers students with disabilities for paid internships with NASA, IBM, Du Pont, Proctor and Gamble, Seagate, and the National Science Foundation. Entry Point seeks undergraduate or graduate students majoring in science, engineering, math, and computer science who maintain a 3.0 G.P.A. or higher. More information is available at the Entry Point web site, www.entrypoint.org.