Finding employment after a life-changing injury can be something be incredibly challenging for anyone, especially those who did not have solid employment prior to their injury.
I was fifteen years old when I was injured. I had done some small jobs for family friends- raking leaves, gardening, that kind of stuff but I certainly had never had a real job or anything that I knew I could do for money as I returned to school and regular life following my time in rehabilitation. I grew up in a blue-collar town. When my friends got to the age of needing a job, most of them took jobs at the local mills, where they were able to do labor-based jobs for relatively good pay. Obviously, this wasn’t in the cards for me, and I struggled for a way to make any money of my own for several years. In the beginning, it would have been nice to have a little extra money but as I got older and got my license, actual bills began to pile up and not being able to any employment became a large stress in my life.
I wanted to create a blog to help anyone who may find themselves in a similar situation, having been in a chair for over 12 years and connected with many people who have been successful in finding meaningful and lucrative employment I felt that maybe I could help anyone who is in a similar situation that I found myself in all those year ago.
I want to focus on jobs that any town or city should have, of course, there is more opportunities in bigger cities but I wasn’t in a big city so I wanted to offer possible solutions to anyone living in cities such as Denver or San Francisco as well as small towns.
Know your rights
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.
Ticket to Work Program
Social Security’s Ticket to Work Program supports career development for Social Security disability beneficiaries ages 18 through 64 who want to work. The Ticket Program is free and voluntary. The Ticket Program helps people with disabilities progress toward financial independence. Individuals who receive Social Security benefits because of a disability and are aged 18 through 64 probably already qualify for the program.
American Job Centers
There are nearly 3,000 of these centers in communities across the country. Your local American Job Center has lists of recent job openings, computers you can use to search for jobs and career counselors who can help you find jobs, train for a new career and write your resume.
Visit the American Job Center website or call 1-877-348-0502 or TTY: 1-877-348-0501 to find an American Job Center near you.
Job Accommodation Network
JAN assists individuals with medical conditions and disabilities, their advocates, and family members by providing information about job accommodation solutions and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These resources include information about ADA general rights, how to disclose a disability and request and negotiate accommodations at work, and accommodation solutions.
Inclusion is becoming an increasingly relevant topic, with many companies prioritizing it. There are many resources to aid in the job search. Below are some online resources that may help.
Places to look
Movie Theatre – Cinemark is an equal-opportunity employer, most theatre will have suitable jobs for someone with a disability.
Hotel – Guest services
Grocery Store – Price changes, facing, cashier, these are all jobs that can be done.
Sephora- All Abilities Hiring Initiative is a structured nine-week paid program leveraging local advocacy groups and educational institutions to train and ultimately recruit talent with disabilities. Since launching in 2017, the program has provided employment opportunities to 246 candidates with disabilities
Target Target is among seven retailers that received the highest possible score on the 2021 Disability Equality Index, earning the the distinction of “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion.
Unfortunately, it is rare for the perfect job for someone with a disability to appear however, finding the right employer who is willing to accommodate your specific injury is what is most important. Adaptability and communication is the name of the game regarding employment.
Often companies are excited to hire disabled employees. They just do not know what sort of accommodations are needed – you need to be your biggest advocate.