October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Reflecting a commitment to a robust and competitive American labor force, the 2019 National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) theme is "The Right Talent, Right Now." Observed each October, NDEAM celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and educates about the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents.
For more information, please see https://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/ndeam/

A local expert's advice
Building your first resume
What can you or your child list on a resume that shows a strong desire to work? We have discussed job shadowing, volunteering, internships, and school work experiences. Here are some more ideas:

Informational interviews
An informational interview is simply an opportunity to ask questions of a person who is doing the type of job you are thinking of pursuing. It can be done over lunch or even through e-mail messages.

Attending career fairs
Many school transition programs, colleges, and business groups hold career fairs to help students access information about certain jobs. These events are a wonderful opportunity to learn what education and skills are needed in the world of work. What you have learned at a career fair can be listed on your resume.

Visual resumes or portfolios
Consider creating a visual resume or portfolio of your goals, skills, and accomplishments. This is especially useful if you have difficulty discussing these points during a job interview. A visual resume allows for deeper personalization by using pictures, graphics, and sound. You should still have a traditional resume on hand and ask the interviewer if it is acceptable to email the visual resume as part of your application.

Barriers to employment
What gets in the way of employment? A 2018 Roc EmployABILITY summit panel identified the following barriers to employment:

  • Attitudes towards people with disabilities; businesses are not always aware of the disability experience
  • Lack of conversation between disability community and business community
  • Legislation that needs to be updated
  • Transportation
  • Funding for job readiness programs and employment initiatives
  • No easy pathway off of Social Security
  • Job search process itself can be overwhelming
  • Discriminatory language on job applications
  • Medical conditions
  • Challenge of getting first job when you don’t have any work experience on your resume
Employment goals on the IEP
Did you know that your IEP or your child’s IEP includes a section for postsecondary goals, including employment?

The IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) requires transition services on the IEP (Individualized Education Program) to be in effect when the child turns 16, or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP Team, and updated annually. The IEP’s Transition Services must include:
  • Appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills; and
  • The transition services (including courses of study) needed to assist the child in reaching those goals.
Starbridge employment services
Supported Employment
Employment Counselors help individuals to find and maintain employment through job search resources, guidance on resume development and interviewing, job coaching, and assistance with implementing workplace modifications.

Group Day Hab Without Walls
100% community-based, this small group program offers opportunities for people to develop transferrable skills to prepare for competitive employment.

Community Pre-Vocational
This program is also 100% community-based; offers opportunities for people to develop transferrable skills as well as focusing on individualized interests in job-related areas to prepare for competitive employment .

Starbridge Internship Program
Youth and young adults gain 160 hours of paid work experience in careers that interest them.

How do you get started?
For individuals seeking job placement or job supports, please start by contacting your local ACCES-VR (Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation) office or attending an orientation session at ACCES-VR. The schedule for orientation sessions for the Rochester District Office is available here . ACCES-VR staff may be able to refer you to Starbridge for Employment Supports. 

Starbridge also offers Employment programs funded through OPWDD.

To learn more about Starbridge Employment Services, please contact Ursula Nicholson, Director of Employment Services, at 585-224-7342 or email unicholson@starbridgeinc.org .
Additional resources
Job Search Handbook for People With Disabilities: A Complete Career Planning and Job Search Guide, 3rd Ed, by Daniel J. Ryan https://www.amazon.com/Job-Search-Handbook-People-Disabilities/dp/159357813X/ref=dp_ob_image_bk

OPWDD and ACCES-VR Employment Service Definitions

Pathway to Employment in Monroe County

Pacer’s National Parent Center on Transition and Employment