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Turning Barriers into Bridges: Steps for Applicants with Developmental Disabilities



Navigating the job market is an intricate endeavor for anyone, but for those with developmental disabilities, it can be even more challenging. The good news is, your unique skillset and perspective can be a powerful asset in today’s diverse work environment. By following the right tactics, you can focus on your capabilities and turn your job search into a fulfilling endeavor. In this article from Provident Life, we'll guide you through some impactful steps tailored for individuals like you, to make your job search as fruitful as possible.

Networking with Advocacy Organizations

Become a member of groups or associations like Provident Life that advocate for people with disabilities. These networks can offer a wealth of resources including job boards, skill-building workshops, and valuable insights from others who have walked a similar path. Surrounding yourself with a supportive community can also boost your morale during your job search.

The Flexible Path: Freelancing and Independent Work

Rather than opting for traditional full-time positions, consider freelancing or independent contract work that aligns with your skills. This approach provides the latitude to create a work-life balance that suits you, while also making accommodations for any specific needs you might have. Plus, there's the joy of being your own boss.

Scouting Inclusive Employers

Make it a point to identify and apply to businesses known for their inclusive practices and diverse workforce. Company websites, social media pages, and annual reports can be useful sources for gauging an employer’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Employers who prioritize this are often more open to hiring candidates with developmental disabilities.

Specialized Placement Services: Your Go-To Resource

There are various agencies and services designed specifically to help those with developmental disabilities find employment. They offer targeted support like skills assessment, job matching, and even on-the-job coaching. With a specialized focus, they can more effectively bridge the gap between you and your dream job.

Venturing into Business Ownership

Have you considered setting up your own venture? Registering as a limited liability company (LLC) in Oregon can offer a host of benefits, including tax perks, minimized personal financial risk, and simplified administrative procedures. The structure of an LLC is particularly beneficial for first-time entrepreneurs, simplifying your business journey.

Spotlight on Your Talents

When crafting your resume or sitting in an interview, center the conversation around your competencies and achievements. Share anecdotes or examples that reflect your work ethic, skills, and how you can bring value to the company. Potential employers are more interested in what you can do, rather than any disabilities you may have.

Broadening Horizons Through Online Learning

If you aim to compete in fields that require specialized knowledge, consider pursuing an online education process of a business bachelor degree. Not only does this certify your skills, but it also shows potential employers that you are committed to self-improvement and professional development. Moreover, the flexible nature of online courses can accommodate various learning styles and paces.

Navigating the Interview Landscape

Prepare yourself to tackle any questions an interviewer might ask about your disability. Having a well-thought-out answer can mitigate any doubts they might have and demonstrate that you’re more than capable of performing the tasks required by the job. The key is to be open, honest, and confident in your ability to contribute.

Embarking on a job search with a developmental disability comes with its set of challenges, yet it is important to focus on the vast array of possibilities that await you. By employing these eight strategies and maintaining a proactive attitude, you can pinpoint a career path that not only matches your skills but also brings you fulfillment and joy. Your capabilities are your strongest asset, and this guide aims to help you leverage them in the job market.


Written by Ed Carter from ablefutures.org

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