Employment for People with Disabilities

Employment for People with Disabilities

Posted by PC-Eastern-USA on Apr 25, 2016 2:27 pm

After my motorcycle accident in 1983, I was in Danbury Hospital for rehab and worked with a person from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) of CT.  Even though I previously worked at United Parcel Service in Brookfield, CT as the Local Sort Supervisor, I could no longer hold that position working from a wheelchair.   The DVR rep suggested taking a Myers Briggs test to get an understanding of what jobs may be a good fit for me.  The results showed I had a desire and aptitude to be involved with computer programming.  I took a year-long course called Business Information Processing Education for the Disabled (BIPED) at Burke Rehabilitation Center in White Plains, NY.  Once completed I pursued getting a job.  I wrote a resume and started applying to different insurance companies since at the time Hartford, CT was called the insurance capital of the world.  My break came from my wife’s friend who worked in Human Resources at The Travelers. I had an interview and got a job and worked in IT for 18.5 years.

Back then “I didn’t know what I didn’t know” for availability of resources to assist people with disabilities to get employment. Today is a new day and the opportunities for employment and organizations to assist individuals with disabilities get and retain employment are much greater.

Here are a few organizations available throughout the United States.  If you receive Social Security Supplemental Insurance (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), you are automatically included in the Ticket-To-Work program.  Their website is full of information on what the program is, the many ways it can help and a list of Employment Networks throughout the nation to choose from.

Employment Networks have people who can assist with resume creation, job search, job coaching and much more.  They have a vested interest in helping people with disabilities to get work because they will benefit by receiving funds from the government every quarter a person who worked through them retains employment and makes over a certain wage.  Employment Networks also know of businesses who have hired people with disabilities.

The largest employer in the United States is the US Government.  However, it sometimes can be overwhelming going through the process to get a position in the government.  There is help to make the process work for you.   That process is working through Schedule-A.  Schedule-A provides people with disabilities the opportunity to by-pass some of the red tape.  It provides the employment seeker a leg up so to say during the employment process. You can view more information on Employment and Work Programs in the following Fact Sheet.

Working through state agencies offering Vocational Rehabilitation services and your state’s One-Stop Centers along with searching online sites like Monster, Indeed, Ladder, etc. can help locate jobs that are available.

If you have worked through Employment Networks or have obtained a position working through Schedule-A, please comment on your experiences.

These resources will help ease the anxiety of finding employment, as the adjustment to living with paralysis can be a trying recovery. However, with the right tools, you can find the right fit for you and get you back to a sense of normalcy.
Todd A. Johnston 860-558-7384 Program Coordinator for Eastern United States Peer and Family Support Program Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation tjohnston@christopherreeve.org

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