September 2019, Vol. 5, No. 7
RAISE The Standard Newsletter
Raising the Standard for Young Adults with Disabilities
Technical Assistance and Resources for RSA-funded
Parent Training and Information Centers
"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others."
- African Proverb
We have all heard the adage, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” Connections matter, and for many job seekers, the dream job is just one connection away. With social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, it has never been easier to make connections, but most job search sites underscore that it is not quantity, but quality that matters.

In this issue of RAISE the Standard, we explore how youth with disabilities can leverage social media and networking opportunities to help them land a job and position themselves for the next big thing.
Rob Brown:

Listen as Rob Brown introduces the concept of a “personal brand,” and asks “How do you stand out?” Rob argues that all of us are in sales, getting others to buy our ideas, our concepts, our opinions, and ourselves.

Brown invites job seekers to look at our “red box” and consider:
What makes you different?

What is it about you that makes you stand out?


OK. So this is a little silly, but it is a lot of fun and is packed with great messages about how to use personal branding to help with a job search. Watch as Bigfoot himself learns about personal branding and lands his dream job. He learns to use LinkedIn and gets a few tips:

  1. Make sure your picture is clear.
  2. Make sure your profile and skills stand out and show how you are different.
  3. Tell a story about who you are—what is your passion? What are you known for?

Circle icon with wrench and screwdriver graphic
Networking is not limited to social media: in-person networking can be a powerful way to connect, opening doors to new friendships, skills, opportunities, and even jobs.
Networking events are everywhere and address nearly every area of interest, from ham radio and gaming to animation to high math.
Teens can start by learning to use the online city calendar. Even if that “city” is a small town at the end of a dirt road, the local business association or municipal association likely has a list of events. And to dig even deeper, students can learn to use online networking to find face-to-face events. Here are three sites that can help them get started:
  1. Eventbrite is a global platform for live experiences that allows anyone to create, share, find, and attend events that fuel their passions and enrich their lives. Learn more: 
  2. Meetup is a platform for finding and building local communities. People use Meetup to meet new people, learn new things, find support, get out of their comfort zones, and pursue their passions, together with others. Click here to learn more: 
  3. Facebook Events is a calendar-based resource that can be used to notify users of upcoming occasions. Anyone can create an event on Facebook—and it's free. Events can be published as an invitation-only event (private) or as an event that’s open to anyone (public). 
  4. Facebook Groups are a place for group communication and for people to share their common interests and express their opinion. They let people come together around a common cause, issue, or activity to organize, express objectives, discuss issues, post photos, and share related content. Click here to learn more:
Skills to Pay Bills publication cover thumbnail
“Skills to Pay the Bills”

We have shared this tool in the past, but want to share it again. Bridges to Work’s publication, “Skills to Pay the Bills,” has an entire section on networking for career development and exploration.

We especially like this “Small World” exercise on page 77, designed to help youth identify the natural network they already have.

graphic image from Forbes video on social media and job searches
Often, social media provides that all-important “first impression.” According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and about 43 percent of employers use social media to check on current employees.

This video from Forbes describes how job seekers can use social media to their advantage in a job search.

Here are some tips:

  1. Google yourself to see what comes up.
  2. Create relevant social media profiles.
  3. Be sure to use high quality images.
  4. Network and be engaged. Connect with others. Follow and like the companies and industries that interest you
  5. Be a resource to others.
  6. Don’t ask for a job right away.
  7. Make a plan. You do not have to do it all at once.
  8. Update your job search.
Students need to know that social media can hurt as much as it can help.
For example, did you know that the Trump administration wants to peek in on social media to check up on those who get government benefits?
A poorly managed social media account can actually get someone fired. Job search sites suggest the following “Don’ts” for job seekers and employees:

  1. Don’t tell or show too much. A good rule of thumb is: if you don’t want your mom to see it, don’t post it.
  2. Don’t use curse words or inappropriate comments.
  3. Don’t re-post memes or videos that might offend an employer. If you have to ask yourself or someone else if it is OK to post, it probably isn’t.
  4. Don’t bad-mouth your employer or colleagues.
  5. Don’t complain about your current job.
  6. Don’t overpost. Your next boss does not want to know every show you watch or see a hundred pictures of your cute cat.
  7. Make sure your email address is professional.

circular image of aman wearing a tee shirt that says "I am a Brand"
You're ready to make a career move—maybe you’re looking for a new job, launching a side business, or eyeing a promotion. In all of these instances, boosting your personal brand can help you achieve your goal.

That’s because a strong personal brand is a carefully designed message that’s compelling and attracts the right people. It helps you stand out, describing who you are and what you do best.

Here are some questions to get you started:

  1. What are you passionate about? You want to think about what excites you, and what things you truly enjoy doing.
  2. What are your core beliefs? This is important because it’s like a mission statement. It’ll help you relay your personal approach to getting things done.
  3. What are your top four strengths? This’ll help you share what you do better than anyone else, to set you apart from the competition.
  4. Are you a good leader or a good doer—or both? This is good to know because it’s a way to identify and highlight the kind of roles that complement your strengths.
  5. What do others say about you? Ask around! You may have strengths you’re unaware of, or talents you need to put more emphasis on so people know they exist.

Alicia Grishman, author, activist, and self-described “shameless agitator”
“I have to come to love my disability, because my disability is a part of me, and that me is a pretty impressively awesome person… We talk too much about how people accomplish things “in spite of” their disability. And that there is some mighty big bullshit.

I have accomplished some really amazing stuff in the last five years. I didn’t even mention half of it, I’m such a badass. And I did all of it because of my disability. Eat that, ableism.”

– Alicia Grishman,
author, activist, and self-described “shameless agitator”

In part 2 of her story, “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Disability,” Alisa Grishman shares her journey as she learns to embrace her disability and examines the ways in which she can make a difference through advocacy and activism.

Resources icon - three books on a shelf
The RAISE Center has posted its Apprenticeship Resource Collection.
Click here to view the collection.

Apprenticeship Expansion

Last month, the US Department of Labor (DOL) announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would establish a process for development of high-quality, industry-recognized apprenticeship programs. It also announced recent awards and future funding to support the development and expansion of apprenticeship programs for educational institutions in partnership with companies. Through a variety of initiatives, DOL’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) works to ensure disability inclusion in apprenticeship programs. Read the announcement or learn about ODEP’s apprenticeship efforts .
“Who You Know”

Here is a great book for teachers and guidance counselors helping students expand their networks. Click here to view on
Conferences and Webinars
Mark Your Calendar

October is National Disability Employment Month. The theme is The Right Talent, Right Now. Order or download your copy of the 2019 poster now in English or Spanish.

October 15, 11:00 - 12:15 MT
REL Webinar: Delivering Work-Based Learning in Rural Schools, hosted by the Regional Education Labs, part of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).

October 25-28
Conference – Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living Annual Conference (APRIL) Grand Rapids, Michigan.

November 14-16
Conference – Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health 30th Annual Conference, Phoenix, Arizona.
Collaboration • Empowerment • Capacity-building

RAISE The Standard enewsletter identifies and shares resources that the Rehabilitation Services Administration Parent Training and Information Centers (RSA-PTI) can use and share with families.
Executive Editor:
Peg Kinsell
Visit our Website:
RAISE, the National Resources for Access, Independence, Self-Advocacy and Employment is a user-centered technical assistance center that understands the needs and assets of the RSA-PTIs, coordinates efforts with the Technical Assistance provided by PTI centers and involves RSA-PTIs as key advisors and partners in all product and service development and delivery.
US Department of Education official seal
RAISE is funded by the US Department of Education to provide technical assistance to, and coordination of, the 7 PTI centers (RSA-PTIs). It represents collaboration between the nation's two Parent Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) and the seven Regional PTACs.