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Finding a Job or Internship with a Disability

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On July 26, 2010, President Obama issued Executive Order 13548, which stipulated that the Federal Government, as the nation's largest employer, must become a model for the employment of individuals with disabilities. The order directed departments and agencies across all of government to improve their efforts through increased recruitment, hiring, and retention, and it set a target of hiring 100,000 people with disabilities into the Federal government over the next 5 years. Because those wheels were put into motion, government agencies and departments, as well as companies that have governmental contracts, all have procedures in place for disability hiring.

Here are some of the programs in government aimed to help increase the representation of people with disabilities in the workforce:

United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM)

This government-run office has an express charge to increase the number of employees with disabilities working in the U.S. government. They run an internship program, as well as a Recent Graduates program. The Recent Graduates Program affords developmental experiences in the Federal Government intended to promote possible careers in the civil service to recent grads. To be eligible, applicants must apply within two years of degree completion (except for veterans precluded from doing so due to their military service obligation, who have up to six years after degree completion to apply). Successful applicants are placed in a dynamic, developmental program with the potential to lead to a civil service career in the Federal Government. The program lasts for 1 year and jobs can be in any department-- from the foreign service, to the Environmental Protection Agency. For more information about programs for current students and recent grads, or to read more more information as to how to apply to government jobs, when you have a disability, click on the embedded links.

Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities

This website, endorsed by the government, has job listings for highly qualified students who have disabilities. WRP is managed by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the U.S. Department of Defense's Office of Diversity Management & Equal Opportunity (ODMEO). Employers use the Workforce Recruitment program to publicize job openings and internships to students and recent grads with disabilities who have been pre-screened. Only these candidates have access to postings. You can sign up here to join the program.

They also have a list of excellent online resources.

The American Association for People with Disabilities (AAPD)

AAPD’s programs aim to increase the political and economic power of people with disabilities. They offer a national mentoring day, congressional internships for students with disabilities, advocacy, and information.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Entrypoint! Is a program that identifies students with apparent and non-apparent disabilities studying science, engineering, math, computer science, and some business fields for co-op and internship programs.

Networks that Match Students with Disabilities with Companies Looking to Hire Them:

When looking for an inclusive workplace, it can be intimidating to know where to start. One method is to begin by exploring companies that have a stated interest in supporting diversity, and specifically those that are part of the disability community. The following recruiting networks are specifically aimed at matching high-potential university students who have a disability, with companies who’ve partnered to recruit them.

Many of the companies who partner with disability recruiting networks like these also recruit at Stanford directly. But by going through the network, your application will get highlighted and directed to a recruiter trained to work with diverse students in the application pool. That means it will be easier to bring up any accommodations you may need during the interview process, as well as ask questions openly about inclusivity.

  • Lime Connect is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is “rebranding disability through achievement.”  They prepare and connect high-potential university students and professionals - who happen to have learning differences and/or disabilities, for scholarships and internships with partner companies. Lime Connect runs a Fellowship Program, and also helps place students in full-time careers with their corporate partners. Some of Lime Connect’s partners include Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Unilever, Bloomberg, and Goldman Sachs.

Other ways to explore jobs or internships:

  • Ability Jobs isn’t a full-service recruiting network in the same way as the organizations listed above, but it’s a useful place to search for jobs. Its online job board features postings from employers specifically seeking to hire people with learning differences or disabilities. You can search the listings, or you can post your resume and you’ll remain anonymous unless you give permission for an employer who’s interested to contact you. 

  • Getting Hired is a job board "for job seekers with disabilities located in the United States, with more than 100,000 active listings”. You can search by zip code. A local search we did recently for the Palo Alto are pulled up jobs at Facebook, Stanford, and more.  

Accessibility and Accommodations:

If you’re starting a search for an internship or a job, you may be wondering how to broach the topic of accommodations. At school, there are processes in place to help you-- you may have software that aids you in processing information, or accommodations that allow you to self-pace your work so you can keep your anxiety at bay.

The Office of Accessible Education, the Schwab Learning Center, and Stanford Career Education often partner on events to help students navigate disclosure and the process of requesting accommodations during the interview process. Log into Handshake to check for upcoming offerings.

Think about your strengths and innate preferences:

As a Stanford student, you have access to a team of career coaches, who lead hundreds of programs and events each year across campus. These coaches also offer career assessments, which can help you clarify your interests and provide a starting point for exploring the world of work. If you’re interested in taking an assessment, please make an appointment with a Career Communities Coach.