How can the engagement of students with disabilities in postsecondary career centers be increased?
Postsecondary career centers can help students prepare for employment by teaching them how to create resumes, improve interview skills, and locate employment opportunities.
Some career centers understand the unique needs of students with disabilities such as accessible facilities, materials in accessible formats, learning about disability disclosure, and understanding legislation such as the American’s with Disabilities Act and its 2008 Amendments. Promising practices for engaging students with disabilities, include:
- Collaborating with partners on campus to run a Workforce Recruitment Program.
- Collaborating with the campus office that provides academic accommodations for students with disabilities.
- Creating workshops specifically for students with disabilities.
- Training career counselors and staff on communication tips for working with students with disabilities and how to provide materials in alternate formats.
- Providing statements on promotional materials such as “Our goal is to make all materials and services accessible. Please inform staff of accessibility barriers you encounter and request accommodations that will make activities and information resources accessible to you.”
- Captioning videos.
- Holding workshops and events in accessible facilities.
For example, the University of Washington Career Center, in collaboration with a project called AccessSTEM Careers, created a button on their home page that says “Resources for Students with Disabilities.” The button links to a website where students can learn about services and activities specifically designed for students with disabilities.
For more information about accessible career services, consult Equal Access: Universal Design of Career Services.
AccessSTEM CAREERS is a project of the Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology Center at the University of Washington. The project is funded by the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, an organization that works to make changes for the better in society by investing in innovative strategies to empower youth with disabilities to lead productive lives.