Instead of going back all 100 years, let’s start in 1973, when the Rehabilitation Act banned discrimination on the basis on disability by recipients of federal funds. Arlene Mayerson wrote about the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund): “for the first time people with disabilities were viewed as a class – a minority group”. As the definition of what non-discrimination meant in the context of disabilities was established, the disability community continued their legal involvement and on July 26, 1990 the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law. “The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) makes it unlawful to discriminate in employment against a qualified individual with a disability. The ADA also outlaws discrimination against individuals with disabilities in State and local government services, public accommodations, transportation and telecommunications.”
Today, in 2013, there are resources that have hopefully continued to expand accessibility to work. Below you will find an overview of four relevant resources, for individuals with disabilities, seeking to explore and find career opportunities.
Workforce Recruitment Program (Office of Personnel Management)
The Department of Labor has an Office of Disability Employment Policy which oversees the “Workforce Recruitment Program” This program helps college students connect with federal employees nationwide.
Schedule A: (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)
Schedule A is a federal government (exempted) hiring authority for individuals with a disability. Candidates who meet OPM guidelines can be hired non-competitively into a government organization.
Best Places to Work in the federal government for individuals with a disability (Partnership for Public Service)
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Department of Navy
Social Security Administration
Department of Air Force
Department of Justice
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Department of the Army
Environmental Protection Agency
Department of the Treasury
Department of Transportation
Job Accommodation Network (Department of Labor)
A resource that provides free information regarding workplace accommodations. JAN is a service provided by the Office of Disability Employment Policy.
Has access to a “career” or “vocation” increased? I’m sure we all have our opinion and hopefully we’ll be able to discuss this question at the NCDA Career Development Conference in Boston. Resources for individuals with disabilities have changed, and will continue to change, hopefully for the better.
Imants Jaunarajs, M.A., serves as the Assistant Dean for the Career & Leadership Development Center at Ohio University. He is the Associate Editor of the Government Department for Career Convergence. Imants has a Bachelor of Arts from Earlham College and Master of Arts from Western Michigan University. In his free time, Imants enjoys coaching soccer and relaxing with family and friends. email@example.com