Employment Empowerment

WID’s evidence-based curriculum, first created at the University of California, Berkeley and replicated at other colleges and for other youth with disabilities, is a package of instructional topics on fundamental skills development in both employment ambition and workplace competitive skills that reverses the negativity people with disabilities have encountered around building their employment expectations and ambitions. Complimented by the CareerACCESS Coaching and Individualized Career Plan, this powerhouse of tools and approaches will bring fresh and empowering employment opportunities for WID E3 participants.

Training Curriculum

The Employment Empowerment curriculum and materials directly address the following core or central disability and employment strategies, which often need to be discussed and resolved in order to build self-confidence:

  • Why Choose Work
  • The Disability Experience and Creating a New Experience
  • A New Perspective for the Workplace
  • Disability Pride and Self-Determination (consumerism)
  • Discrimination Threat and Performance
  • The Disability Message You Want to Send
  • Accommodation and Disclosure Strategies
  • A Brief Disability History
  • Disability Employment Laws and Social Security Work Incentives
  • How to Represent the Disability Demographic and Voices of Experience

By exploring the fundamental truths about the world of work and how to manage a disability in that world, the curriculum is complimented by content to understand and develop competitive workplace skills. Specifically, the following workplace topics are presented and discussed:

  • Workplace Presence (soft skills—marketing yourself)
  • Workplace Practices (medium skills—rules of the road)
  • Workplace Job Skills (hard skills or job-specific skills)
  • Workplace Patterns (understanding workplace differences)
  • Workplace Protocols (finding and winning the job)
  • Workplace Pathways to Employment (programs that can help)
  • Workplace Planning (developing your personal plan)

The online instructional materials are available at the College to Careers webpage.

The evidence demonstrating the potential impact on students with disabilities is in this Evidence about this Course (PDF).

CareerACCESS Initiative

To compliment the employment empowerment curriculum, WID E3 also hosts the CareerACCESS Initiative, which focuses on specific policy and programming elements designed to facilitate the transition of people with disabilities from Social Security benefits to competitive employment and economic independence. The purpose of the CareerACCESS model is to impact the dramatic unemployment rates and poverty of youth with disabilities on Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or both.

The core CareerACCESS techniques are derived from WID’s E3 resources, which can be used with other non-working people with disabilities, students transitioning from school to work, and clients or customers of state and community rehabilitation programs. Additionally, the core program includes creating a cadre of CareerACCESS Coaches who utilize a specifically designed CareerACCESS Individualized Career Plan (ICP) and emphasizing better appreciation and understanding around employment potential, competitive job seeking, and job-keeping skills, benefits planning, financial skills, and more.

The CareerACCESS model offers 4 major policy and programming components:

  1. Policy Changes
  2. Coaches
  3. Individualized Career Plans
  4. Program Content

Click on the image below to visit the CareerACCESS website.

Link to the CareerACCESS website; image of the homepage of the CareerACCESS website.
For more information, contact Paul Hippolitus, WID’s Director of the Employment and Disability Benefits Initiative, at paul@wid.org.

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