AccessCAREERS Projects: Increasing Career Success for People with Disabilities

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Careers
Academics
Research
Experiential Education
Relevant Skills

The DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center at the University of Washington has, since 1992, worked to increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in postsecondary education and employment through direct work with students who have disabilities; professional development for faculty, teachers, service providers, and employers; and information dissemination. DO-IT has been recognized for its efforts through many awards including the National Information Infrastructure Award in Education and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring; and the AHEAD (The Association on Higher Education and Disability) exemplary program award for helping people with disabilities succeed in postsecondary education and careers.

AccessCAREERS, which stands for Careers, Academics, Research, Experiential Education, and Relevant Skills, is a DO-IT program that focuses on successful career preparation for individuals with disabilities. AccessCAREERS activities encourage and prepare individuals with disabilities to enter challenging careers and create a model for a continuum of services from K-12 through postsecondary levels. AccessCAREERS serves to:

What AccessCAREERS Offers Students With Disabilities

Career planning and preparation should occur throughout your academic studies. You do not need to settle on one area to pursue right away, and you can change directions. But, be sure to prepare for the long run—for your lifelong career or multiple careers. AccessCAREERS can help you with this preparation through presentations, workshops, meetings, and one-on-one guidance. DO-IT staff can help you:

DO-IT staff can also help high school and college students participate in work-based learning experiences such as internships, cooperative education, job shadowing, service-learning, independent study, and informational interviews.

What AccessCAREERS Offers Employers

With assistive technology and reasonable accommodations, people with disabilities are often highly qualified to enter the workforce; yet they too often remain part of an underutilized labor pool. Internships and other work-based learning programs can give you, your employees, and students a chance to experience working in a diverse environment, implement different worksite accommodations, and "test each other out." AccessCAREERS can help you and your employees:

What AccessCAREERS Offers Educators

The number of students with disabilities entering and completing postsecondary education has increased dramatically in the last decade, yet people with disabilities are still underrepresented in the employment arena. Faculty members, counselors and advisors can prepare students with disabilities to overcome barriers to employment by insuring that academic and career programs are inclusive. AccessCAREERS can give you and your staff:

What AccessCAREERS Offers Parents

With the tremendous impact of technology on all career fields, the options for your child have grown enormously. Transitions within the academic setting and to a work setting are exciting, yet challenging, for both you and your child. AccessCAREERS can improve your ability to provide knowledgeable and effective support during these transitions. Our training and information can help you:

About AccessCAREERS

AccessCAREERS is a series of projects and activities that help prepare students with disabilities for careers and increase their representation in work-based learning experiences. Specific activities include the following:

AccessCAREERS/K-12

Originally funded through the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education & Rehabilitative Services, Office of Special Education Programs (Grant #H324M990010) and the National Science Foundation (Cooperative Agreement #HRD0227995), AccessCAREERS/K-12 focuses on increasing the participation of high school students with disabilities in work-based learning programs. AccessCAREERS/K-12 works with students with disabilities, their parents, teachers, counselors, and employers to facilitate successful transitions to postsecondary education and employment.

AccessCAREERS /Postsecondary

Originally funded through the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (Grant #P116D990138-01) and the National Science Foundation (Cooperative Agreement #HRD0227995), AccessCAREERS/Postsecondary is directed toward postsecondary students with disabilities pursuing careers in business, science, mathematics, engineering, and technology. Assistance with employment preparation skills and accessing work-based learning experiences are the two primary elements of AccessCAREERS/Postsecondary. Through presentations, training, videos, and printed materials targeted to faculty, counselors, and employers, AccessCAREERS/Postsecondary serves to increase the levels of recruitment, support, and employment of individuals with disabilities.

High School/High Tech

DO-IT partners with the City of Seattle and Seattle Public Schools to sponsor High School/High Tech activities in Western Washington. This program was originally funded by the U.S. Department of Labor (Grant #E-9-4-1-0087). High School/High Tech provides high school students with disabilities exposure to technology-related careers. To learn more about High School/High Tech programs nationwide, visit www.dol.gov/odep/programs/high.htm.

Educational Materials

Many useful resources are available through DO-IT's AccessCAREERS website at www.uw.edu/doit/Careers/.

DO-IT Publications

DO-IT publications are available at no charge and may be accessed online at www.uw.edu/doit/Brochures/. The following are particularly relevant.

It's Your Career: Work-Based Learning Opportunities for Students With Disabilities emphasizes the importance of preparing for employment with good academic preparation and transferable job skills. The benefits and types of work-based learning experiences for postsecondary students are detailed in this publication.

Finding Gold: Hiring the Best and the Brightest increases awareness about the contributions of individuals with disabilities, dispels common myths about accommodations, and highlights resources available to employers who wish to recruit and hire individuals with disabilities as interns or permanent employees.

Access to the Future: Preparing Students with Disabilities for Careers shows how to provide an accessible postsecondary career services office for postsecondary students with disabilities. The publication includes tips on working with employers and implementing accommodation strategies.

Learn and Earn: Tips for Teens encourages secondary students with disabilities to include work-based learning experiences in their career planning and academic preparation. This publication details the types of work-based learning, helps students identify their team players, and outlines community and scholastic resources.

Learn and Earn: Supporting Teens outlines ways in which parents, teachers, and mentors can encourage and support secondary students with disabilities in pursuing work-based learning experiences and career preparation activities.

DO-IT Videos

A short video is available to accompany each of the publications described above. These and many other videos may be freely viewed online at www.uw.edu/doit/Video/ or purchased in DVD format.

About DO-IT

DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) serves to increase the successful participation of individuals with disabilities in challenging academic programs such as those in science, engineering, mathematics, and technology. Primary funding for DO-IT is provided by the National Science Foundation, the State of Washington, and the U.S. Department of Education. DO-IT is a collaboration of UW Information Technology and the Colleges of Engineering and Education at the University of Washington.

To order free publications or newsletters use the DO-IT Publications Order Form; to order videos and training materials use the Videos, Books and Comprehensive Training Materials Order Form.

For further information, to be placed on the DO-IT mailing list, request materials in an alternate format, or to make comments or suggestions about DO-IT publications or web pages contact:

DO-IT
University of Washington
Box 354842
Seattle, WA 98195-4842
doit@uw.edu
www.uw.edu/doit/
206-685-DOIT (3648) (voice/TTY)
888-972-DOIT (3648) (voice/TTY)
206-221-4171 (fax)
509-328-9331 (voice/TTY) Spokane

Founder and Director: Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D.

DO-IT Funding and Partners


Acknowledgment

AccessCAREERS projects have been funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the National Science Foundation. Any questions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the federal government.

Copyright © 2012, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2003, 2001, University of Washington. Permission is granted to copy these materials for educational, noncommercial purposes provided the source is acknowledged.