Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
February 6, 2013
Recent estimates indicate there are more than 1.4 million students with disabilities attending U.S. colleges and universities. Following are some recommendations for meeting the job-search needs of this segment of your student population:
- Acquire basic knowledge regarding the unique challenges these students may face in their job searches, the ways to effectively address these challenges, and the many resources that are available to assist them.
- Be willing to listen to and accommodate students with disabilities.
- Share with students statistics about the number of students on campus with disabilities, and provide information on apparent/non-apparent disabilities, disclosure, and disability-friendly employers. Assure students that yours is a disability-friendly career services office.
- Develop a collaborative relationship with disability services to gain a better understanding of this population and its needs, and to share knowledge and best practices. Assign a staff member to serve as the liaison between career services and disability services. This person may also be responsible for providing training to staff on disability-related employment issues, and for creating resources and programming for both job seekers with disabilities and employers interested in hiring them.
- Create a voluntary release form that enables disability services to receive permission from the students they’re serving to share their names with career services. Career services can then support these students in a proactive manner, and keep them updated on events and opportunities targeted to job seekers with disabilities.
- Team up with the other on-campus and community professionals who are supporting students with disabilities who are facing extreme difficulties with their job searches. Share what support each party has provided to the student, and determine what additional support is needed and how each party can provide it.
- Assist employers that source candidates with disabilities by posting their job opportunities on the career services website and by identifying them as disability-friendly employers.