Students with Disabilities
We commit to exploring potential options when working with students who require accommodation for a disability to fully access the resources housed in our center. We know that some students already have accommodations through the Office of Disability Services (ODS). Let us know of yours so we can help develop and implement your career plan.
Whether you have a visible or invisible disability, you may have questions about internship or job search strategies. Let’s get started.
As you build your career competencies for the workforce, we encourage you to get connected in the following ways:
- Engage in experiential learning by building relationships with our Career Communities
- Build your network through the job shadowing program and connect with alumni from multiple communities
- Connect with a mentor through the RAMP program
- Learn about internship opportunities and job openings via Handshake
- Learn about fellowships on campus
- Build your resume by highlighting the projects you complete through your coursework, student clubs, and community programs
- Apply for on-campus work-study and non–work study jobs (tutor, resident assistant, orientation leader, career ambassador, etc.)
- The Job Accommodation Network (JAN): Free consulting service that provides information about job accommodations, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the employability of people with disabilities
- Learning Disabilities Association of America: Provides information and resources for individuals with disabilities, addressing topics in post=secondary education and workplace issues. Check out their Resources for Job Seekers
- The National Business and Disability Council: Leading national resource on issues related to disabled Americans in the workforce
- Bestcolleges.com: Provides a wealth of useful information for students, including sections on your legal rights, campus life, and resources.
- PeopleResources.org: Connects people with disabilities to personal development links, career resources, pertinent news, education resources, and counseling services
- Resources for Students with Disabilities: Provided by affordablecollegesonline.org, offers numerous resources for students with disabilities including visual, cognitive, physical, speech, autism, hearing impairments, and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD); as well as resources for students transitioning from high school to college and college to the job search
- Office of Disability Employment Policy: U.S. Department of Labor
- Institute on Employment and Disability: Cornell University
- Nontraditional Career Preparation: education and workforce development programs that expand career opportunities for men and women, especially in high-skill, high-wage nontraditional career fields
- Massachusetts Commission for the Blind
- Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- Massachusetts Department of Mental Health
- Easterseals Massachusetts: provides essential programs and services to children and adults with disabilities statewide
- Work Without Limits: network of employers, educational institutions, employment service providers, state and federal agencies, individuals with disabilities, and their family members
When To Disclose A Disability?
According to the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, there is no perfect way to disclose a disability. There are, however, certain factors to consider before you do. You can always visit the Career Center to process your options with an advisor.
If You Choose To Disclose
- Know your rights and review the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).
- Research whether the organization is required to provide reasonable accommodations. Employers with 15 or more employees are required to do so.
- Investigate the process for handling accommodation requests.
- ASK JAN is a valuable resource to consult when determining possible solutions.
- Practice with the Career Center team different scenarios and discuss questions and outcomes.
- If you choose to disclose, do so in a confidential place. Emphasize the value you bring to the organization. Be prepared for questions. Be your best advocate: you may be the one to provide recommendations for your accommodation.
- While you choose to disclose your need for accommodation due to medical reason(s) you do not have to disclose personal details with everyone in the workplace. It is the responsibility of the employer to maintain confidentiality.
If You Choose Not To Disclose
- Know your rights.
- Research whether the organization is required to provide reasonable accommodations.
- Evaluate whether your disability might affect your work performance.
- Review your work performance with your supervisor periodically.
Evaluating Your Workplace
There are different strategies in place for you to evaluate the organization you choose as your workplace. The strategies below should serve as a guide. If you have concerns or further questions, please reach out to a career advisor.
- Does the organization have an ADA or inclusion statement on their website?
- Do the mission and vision of the company align with your values?
- Can you connect with alums or other students who have worked there to get an in-depth look and also conduct an informational interview with current employees?
- Are there public sites (e.g. Glassdoor) where you can research employee reviews?
- Do they have an affinity or resource group?
- Is the organization on Diversity Inc.’s Top 50 or other national lists for their diversity policies and programs? If so, what are the criteria for making the list?
- Are there any programs or resources for employees focused on issues of concern for you? (For example, Marriott’s diversity and inclusion councils)
Ways To Handle Discrimination In The Workplace
Federal law prohibits discrimination against individuals on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, pregnancy, and age. Employers are responsible for complying with the law, but you are responsible for making sure you know and protect your rights.
Illegal Interview Questions
Did you know that it is against the law for employers to ask you certain questions in a job interview? To learn more about what topics are off-limits and what to do if you are asked about them, see the guide by Imdiversity.com-illegal-job-interview-questions-and-how-to-respond-to-them/ and Thebalancecareers.com/how-to-answer-inappropriate-interview-questions.
Discrimination in the workplace
If you experience discrimination once you have started a job, here are some tips and information about dealing with employment discrimination. You are also welcome to reach out to the director of career equity and access for support and inquiries.
Job Search And Networking Tools
- The Workforce Recruitment Program: Recruiters from federal agencies conducting personal interviews with college students with disabilities
- Federaljobs.net: Describes hiring options, certifications, and accommodations for students with disabilities interested in pursuing a career in the federal government
- The Riley Guide: Lists several employment resources and job listings for individuals with disabilities
- Emerging Leaders: Highly competitive program placing college students with disabilities in summer internships
- recruitABILITY: Provides an online, targeted recruiting site that effectively connects proactive employers with disabled job seekers
- JobAccess: List of job postings and online applications
- Entry Point!: Program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science offering internship opportunities for students with disabilities in science, engineering, mathematics, and computer science
- Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities: Consortium of universities, national employers, and government agencies focused on the career employment of college graduates with disabilities
- The National Coalition for Students with Disabilities: Strengthens the legal rights of persons with disabilities; provides information on employment, scholarships, telecommuting, and internships
- College Scholarships and Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities: Sponsored by affordablecollegesonline.org; provides information on resources students can use to help mitigate college expenses
- Lime Connect: Assists student with scholarships, professional development webinars, and information about internships and full-time job opportunities