When I was a student at Ball State University many years ago, there were few people with disabilities that I could turn to for advice, particularly when it came to securing a job once I graduated. In fact, I graduated from college and earned masters and legal degrees – all before the ADA became law. I’ve written before how the ADA allowed me as a young lawyer to meet with nearly all of my clients without concerns about accessible accommodations.
More than 20 years later, people with disabilities are able to physically access the proverbial meetings with clients, thanks in large part to the ADA. However, people with disabilities are unemployed – and underemployed – at a rate that is disproportionately higher than people without disabilities. Looking for and maintaining a job has proven more challenging and complex for all Americans, and people with disabilities are particularly feeling that pain.
That’s one of the many reasons why the team at the Bowen Center is helping the students we serve as part of The Disability Project step up their game. This semester, we will be offering a series of forums that will assist students with disabilities with how to make themselves marketable to future employers. We will teach them how to compete for and secure internships. We will connect them with the University’s Career Center. We will spend time helping them prepare a compelling resume. We’ll also explore and share strategies for succeeding in interviews.
Simply put, we’re going to help them learn how to help themselves find a job.
The students we work with, by the very nature of their circumstances, already are self-reliant and have proven their mettle in overcoming the obstacles of daily living. I have no doubt that they will continue to not just meet, but exceed, expectations. I’m looking forward to sharing more about their progress as they continue to make their way on the road to graduation, and ultimately, self sufficiency.