Workplace Pathways to Employment

There are various agencies and organizations that can help with your employment search. This content reviews secondary transition programs; post-secondary education programs; career fairs; internships; state departments of rehabilitation; and other community based programs. In addition, it reviews adjustments to existing programs, such as supported employment and customized employment.

Part II-Workplace Pathways to Employment (PDF)


Workshop #7: Workplace Pathways to Employment (PDF)

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Workplace Job Searching Strategies

Finding a job is a job in and of itself. You need to learn this reality and the related skills in order to be successful. This content covers the basics about how to prepare yourself for the process, as well as the art of networking; your virtual look; resumes; cover letters; preparation and practice; taking the stage; and the subtleties of the job interview.

Part II-Workplace Job Searching Strategies (PDF)


Workshop #6: Workplace Job Searching Strategies (PDF)

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Workplace Patterns

As we know, people are called “individuals” because each person is different. Each person has unique tendencies, traits, or styles that make them who they are. This is true in school, in your community, and, of course, in the workplace. The more you understand about these differences, the better equipped and prepared you’ll be to effectively communicate and work with each individual you meet.

The purpose of this content is to discuss these differences. Just because people are different from each other and from you, it doesn’t mean that they are less capable. It just means that they see things from a different experience, culture, or perception. When you learn how to understand some of these differences, you’ll begin to recognize that these differences make for richer work teams and broader perspectives, both of which most often lead to better results for an organization when all its individuals work together effectively.

Part II-Workplace Patterns (PDF)


Workshop #5: Workplace Patterns (PDF)

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Workplace Job Skills

You need to discover, define, and learn how to effectively communicate your job technical or hard skills to get the job you want. While you’re not a product, you are selling your labor in the competitive marketplace. And, you’re competing with other similar products (other job seekers) to get the sale (job). As a result, you must further prepare yourself to be able to explain why your labor is something the employer should buy (hire) over other job candidates.  This content will teach you how to identify, understand, and communicate effectively what exactly you can do for an employer.

Part II-Workplace Job Skills (PDF)


Workshop #4: Workplace Job Skills (PDF)

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Workplace Practices

Employees who are successful quickly learned the key “tricks of the trade” or the workplace rules of the road discussed in this content. Employees who don’t quickly learn these rules most often get in trouble. The interesting thing about these workplace rules is that nobody ever teaches them to you before you go to the world of work. Either you learn them through trial and error or not at all, in which case you will likely end up failing in your job.

In any case, for most new workers, it takes a long time, as well as repeated mistakes, before they understand the value of these workplace rules. In other words, you usually learn them the hard way by making mistakes. That’s too bad because you can avoid these mistakes with some basic instruction on what the key practices are. Failure to learn them before you begin your career often results in delayed advancement, lost opportunities, or even getting fired. Fortunately, you can avoid these rookie mistakes if you study, learn, and follow these workplace practices sooner rather than later.

Part II-Workplace Practices (PDF)


Workshop #3: Workplace Practices (PDF)

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Workplace Presence

Getting a job or promotion depends on making a good impression on the person who will make the decision to hire or advance you. Workplace presence is your professional “like-ability.” Do people find you interesting, talkative, attentive, funny, warm, nice, thoughtful, well groomed, appropriately dressed, etc.? If they do, they’ll begin to like you more than if you were not these things. When this begins to happen you’re on your way to convincing them that they want to work with you. Learn how to show a potential employer your workplace presence or like-ability as the first step in convincing them to hire you. Remember, when the door closes on the interview room, it’s just you with the job interviewer. The power of your workplace presence is a very important factor in getting the job you want.

Part II-Workplace Presence (PDF)


Workshop #2: Workplace Presence (PDF)

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The Disability Factor

Having a known or visible disability can often create negative reactions or understandings about your employment potential. This is especially true if you express yourself in ways which reinforce these stereotypes. People, including many employers, may make inaccurate assumptions about what your potential is when they learn that you have a disability. These reactions can often be negative, so building your professional skills must start here.

This content explores the various ways you can best represent your disability in the world of work. The ideas and approaches that follow can vary based on your style and personality. Accept these ideas as important considerations in order to present yourself in the best possible way. Take these concepts as starting points for you to refine further in the ways that are most comfortable for you. One word of caution, however: while you can adapt these techniques to your circumstances, you should try not to stray too far from the basic truths and realities these practices represent.

Part I- The Disability Factor (PDF)


Workshop #1: Managing Your Disability in Competitive Employment (PDF)

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Chapter 7: Self-Employment

There are several great opportunities for folks with disabilities when it comes to self-employment. Whether you want to start the next Silicon Valley garage start-up or just arrange a little side-hustle for extra dollars, this chapter can help get the creative juices flowing. More information can be found in Chapter 7 of the EQUITY book.

Chapter 7 Self-Employment (PDF)



Though creating a full-fledged start-up may sound a little daunting, many highly successful people have a small side-hustle. Maybe you love to take pictures at weddings or you want to drive for a ride-share company. Feel free to get creative!

Small Business Planning

It’s time for self-employment! Use this sheet to calculate your start-up costs and how you will fund your business. Feel free to change the categories and amounts to fit your style – and once your “Extra Funds” is more than $0, you’re good to go!

Small Business Planning tool (Excel)

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WID Releases First of Its Kind Findings: Students with Disabilities & Internships

For Immediate Release

Berkeley, CA, USA–The World Institute on Disability, the lead partner in the California Consortium’s Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy’s ADD US IN grant, releases a five-year body of field research from the Consortium’s model “Disability Inclusive – Diversity smALL Business Initiative.”

Several different groups joined forces to recruit small businesses, in addition to veterans and college and university students with disabilities for summer internships. These groups were the Consortium’s business partner National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce; the Consortium’s youth resource partners California Department of Rehabilitation and California Foundation for Independent Living Centers’s Youth Organizing! (YO!) Disabled & Proud; along with the Consortium’s communication partner EIN SOF Communications, Inc.

The field-based evidence is discussed in the Consortium’s Disability Inclusive – Diversity smALL Business Initiative Reflections with Case Illustrations of Successes and Challenges, which can be found under “Project Findings” on the Add Us In page. The employment internship model designed, implemented, and evaluated by the Consortium produced the first of its kind findings that will significantly add to the existing body of knowledge for employing people with disabilities.

A few of the most revealing findings are as follows:

  • In-person internships were generally more mutually beneficial than remote positions. In-person internships offer an opportunity to creatively and collaboratively engender real-world “workplace accommodations” and “productivity tools.” Remote jobs don’t provide a “disability awareness” impact for the employer community; this impact benefits potential interns, as well as their co-workers who learn from real-world interaction with a colleague who has a disability. Employers that hosted in-person interns also required less technical assistance and expressed greater satisfaction with the work product and experience in general—as did the students involved in these in-person internships.
  • Disabled students generally expressed wanting jobs more closely aligned with their career goals, rather than simply seeking general employment to build their resumes. Students tend to spend no more than two or three seconds per email they receive, which limits their willingness to thoughtfully weigh the value of a $12 to $15 per hour internship versus the benefits they receive. As a result of this, they may miss the opportunity to learn soft skills in jobs not aligned with their career trajectories.
  • Word choice matters for business. Any initiative or program that intends to connect business owners to employable candidates with disabilities must be prepared to speak the language of business. Business owners generally have well-defined fears that can be triggered unintentionally by using unfamiliar, non-business oriented language. Fears and concerns must be addressed upfront in order to establish trust. Safe space conversations are critical in the process of developing a business relationship.

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