News and notes from Imagine! and the Imagine! Foundation.

How Young People With Disabilities Can Achieve in Business



Today’s guest blog post comes courtesy of Patrick Young of Able USA.

overhead view of hands typing on laptop on white table

With just 17.9% of people with disabilities in the workforce, compared to 61.8% of the general population, there is no disputing that people with disabilities face obstacles to employment. However, there are job opportunities out there. Business can be one of the best career options if you are a young adult with a disability, and following these tips from Imagine! can help you get there.

Choosing the Right Degree

Several factors play into choosing the right degree for you – preferably one that will give you an edge in the business world. First, consider what you are interested in. Business is a broad category, and there are many different industries and roles to choose from. Second, evaluate which fields are the most in-demand. Business administration, project management, international business and data analysis are among the most promising options. Next, research the average salaries of graduates with various degrees. Current top-earning degrees include international business, human resource management, entrepreneurship, and e-commerce management.

Securing a Great Internship

Internships not only help you get experience and narrow your career focus but also help you make key contacts that can land you a job down the road. Start applying for internships as soon as you can. Some companies may be hesitant to hire an intern with a disability, but focus on what you can do. Research companies, including their policies on inclusive hiring.

Consider disclosing your disability early in the process. Some employers have diversity initiatives that may move you to the front of the line. Additionally, it may be helpful to discuss any accommodations you may need.

Landing Your First Job

Networking is critically important for getting that first job opportunity. Start building relationships with teachers, classmates, and industry professionals while you are still in school. LinkedIn can be a valuable online networking resource. To get the most out of your profile, use a professional photo, complete your profile, make sure your posts are positive and specific, and promptly respond to inquiries from potential employers.

Be sure to put your best foot forward during your internships. Even if the work seems menial, many companies consider interns for permanent jobs. Companies you intern for can be a good source of recommendations, so you want to make a good impression. Consider applying for jobs with state, local, and federal government agencies. Many of these agencies have diverse hiring goals that include people with disabilities. Don't forget to check your local newspaper for job openings.

Also, remember that gaining these crucial business skills doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to market them. Writing a resume can be challenging, but it’s much easier if you use free resume templates that have a smooth, polished look that can highlight your impressive skill sets.

Consider Starting a Business

One way around the reluctance companies may have to hire people with disabilities is to start a business. Research your local market to identify needs that are not currently being filled, or consider starting an online business. A consulting business is another option. Consultants who can help companies make decisions in the fields of management, human resources, finance, marketing, and technology are in high demand.

Seek Out Resources

There are a variety of resources available to assist young adults with disabilities. You may be able to obtain a scholarship, loan, or grant to help you pay for college. Grants are also available to assist adults with disabilities who are entering the workforce or starting a company.

Entering the workforce as a young adult with a disability is a challenge. However, it is a challenge you can overcome. A business career can be a rewarding path for those who are persistent.

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