Why should students with disabilities participate in work-based learning?

DO-IT Factsheet #125

Through the interaction of study and work experience, students can enhance their academic knowledge, personal development, and professional preparation. Specifically, work-based learning opportunities can help a student

For students with disabilities, work-based learning offers additional benefits. Participating in a work experience can give them a chance to determine if they can perform the essential functions of a particular job with or without a reasonable accommodation. It also gives them a chance to practice disclosing their disability and requesting accommodations from potential employers while determining which accommodations work best for them. These experiences help students with disabilities develop the confidence and self-advocacy skills needed for success in higher education and challenging careers.

Many secondary schools and colleges offer programs that help students gain work experiences before graduation. Work-based learning options may include internships, cooperative education, job shadowing, service learning, independent study, informational interviews, and career services.

For more information related to work-based learning and students with disabilities, consult AccessCAREERS [1].