Individuals of varying ability can work! As you consider entering the workforce, you should do some career exploration. This allows you to examine your skills, interests, preferences and abilities and how they might match up with various jobs and careers. One idea is to take a self-assessment, which gives you a snapshot of your personality, skills, interests and preferences.

If you are not yet ready to take on a career, but know you are interested, one idea is to job shadow/find a mentor. This provides the opportunity to spend a day with an individual in their place of employment learning about how they spend their day, the type of work they do, and their work environment. Individuals may set up shadowing opportunities through their school, college, or by networking with individuals around them.

“Despise not any man/woman and do not deem anything unworthy of consideration, for there is no man/woman that does not have his/her hour and no thing that does not have its place.”

Ethics of the Fathers 4:3

Disability Mentoring Day

Disability Mentoring Day is “a nationwide effort to promote career development for students with disabilities through hands-on career exploration.” Disability Mentoring Day takes place every October in conjunction with Disability Employment Awareness Month. For more information, visit the American Association of People with Disabilities website.

Once you are ready to work, you may need to ask for certain accommodations. But, what is a reasonable accommodation and how do you request one? A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a job or work environment that allows you to fully participate in all employment related activities. As a job seeker or an employee, it is your responsibility to request accommodations. Resources such as the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) can help determine the best accommodation for you. A reasonable accommodation may be requested at any time.

Accommodations are not limited to only your job functions. Your place of business should provide accessible break rooms, cafeterias, restrooms and transportation, if company provided.

Local Resources

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a federal-state program that helps people who have physical or mental disabilities get or keep a job. VR mission is to help people with disabilities find meaningful careers. They offer career counseling, financial assistance with tuition and job counseling.

The de Moya Foundation   The de Moya Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is committed to creating employment opportunities for young adults with unique abilities by building long term partnerships with the employers and providing support for the employees. They foster hope, confidence and independence to ensure successful employment outcomes and community inclusion. The de Moya Foundation supports both sides of the employment relationship for a substantial period of time. Email info@demoyafoundation.com

Jewish Community Services of South Florida JCS hosts an employment program which focuses on services to help the deaf and hard-of-hearing.  Additionally, JCS offers J Works a career counseling service in partnership with Greater Miami Jewish Federation.

The Dan Marino Foundation (DMF) is a results-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of persons with autism or other developmental disabilities. Using innovative approaches to problem solving and leveraging the latest computer technologies, the DMF is creating unprecedented opportunities for the disability community. At the core of the Foundation’s initiatives is Marino Campus, an intensive 10-month post-secondary educational program to help young adults with autism or other developmental disabilities bridge the gap between high school and employment

United Community Options Transitional Learning Academy is a private school specifically designed to serve transitioning exceptional education students. The curriculum is individualized for each student with a focus on functional areas that will maximize the student’s independence as an adult. The goal is a successful transition with an appropriate combination of supports and services to maximize the student’s quality of life and independence. The school serves students ages 14-22.

UMCARD offers a support program as well as a job readiness club for people on the Autistic Spectrum. Please see their programs here.

Goodwill of South Florida   Goodwill South Florida is a nonprofit that creates hope, opportunities and a place to belong for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment. Goodwill provides opportunities for people with physical and intellectual challenges and other barriers and help those they serve increase productivity and move towards greater independence through job training, employment and job placement. Goodwill’s employment services have a long, well-established history in Miami.

Agency for Persons with Disabilities Employment Enhancement Project offers supported employment for APD wait-listed Floridians, ages 18 – 24, with transitioning from school to work. APD has allocated approximately $2,500 per EEP job seeker to provide supported employment coaching, follow-along services for supported employment, transportation for work and paid internships as employment. The intent is for APD, local school districts, collaborating agencies and organizations to work together to assist an additional 200 young adults who are leaving school to secure competitive employment.

Picasso Einstein is a unique program that assists people with disabilities and their families explore, establish and initiate small business ventures with the main purpose of providing meaningful employment for the person with the disability.

The Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work Program offers opportunities to those receiving disability benefits to obtain employment, vocational rehabilitation and other services that assist in achieving employment goals.

SpectrumTech Technology Center. United Community Options (UCO) and Helping Adults with Autism Perform & Excel (HAAPE). After graduation most young adults with Autism need considerable help in finding truly meaningful employment that takes advantage of their unique skills in an appropriate workplace environment. SpectrumTech is HAAPE’s pilot program to train and hire adults with autism to professionally perform software testing and quality assurance/data analysis at a competitive price point within the marketplace, while paying our employees a competitive wage.

Americans Live With an Autism Spectrum Disorder
of Children Have Been Diagnosed with a Developmental Disability