Resources for Students with Disabilities
*Several of the below resources fall under multiple categories*
Please visit Disability Support Services for more information
As an individual with a disability, you have an additional element of the job search process to address: to disclose or not to disclose your disability. This decision can be extremely difficult, especially if your disability is hidden. The first step in this decision-making process is to know your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Title I of the ADA prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.
As per the ADA, it is illegal for employers to ask you if you have a disability; however, if you wish to request and receive an accommodation during the interview process or on the job, you must disclose your disability.
The second step in the process of deciding whether or not to disclose your disability is to determine if an accommodation is necessary to perform the essential functions of the job for which you are applying. The best way to do this is to carefully assess the position's job description and identify any job duties which may be difficult to perform due to your disability. Next, identify specific accommodations which would allow you to accomplish these tasks and then research any additional accommodations you may need. This information will allow you to confidently decide if you should indeed disclose your disabilty.
Remember, you only need to disclose your disability when it is obvious or you need to request accommodations.
Addressing Challenges: The Job Search for Students with Disabilities
Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities
DisAbility Online - Employment and Training Administration - U.S. Department of Labor
DO-IT: Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology
Federal Employment of People with Disabilities - U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Illinois Department of Human Services
Advocates and Career Resources
American Association of People with Disabilities
Association on Higher Education and Disability
Disability Resources - U.S. Department of Labor
Job Accommodation Network
National Organization on Disability
Office of Disability Employment
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services - U.S. Department of Education
SIU Disability Support Services
U.S. Business Leadership Network
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
National Business and Disability Council
Resources from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)
Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)
AHEAD is the leading professional membership association for individuals committed to equity for persons with disabilities in higher education. Since 1977, AHEAD has offered a member experience to disability resource professionals, student affairs personnel, ADA coordinators, diversity officers, AT/IT staff, faculty and other instructional personnel, and colleagues who are invested in creating welcoming higher education experiences for disabled individuals.
Coalition for Disability Access in Health Services
The Coalition is a collaboration among peer institutions that aims to improve the student experience with disability accommodations in graduate health science and medical education programs.
Disability:IN is a nonprofit resource for business disability inclusion.
Disability Rights, Education, Activism, and Mentoring (DREAM)
DREAM is charged with the mission of advancing the interests of students with disabilities, in post-secondary institutions, and their allies across the United States. DREAM advocates for student rights, increased accessibility, social and policy change, and aims to provide support and mentorship to local campus disability groups and individual students. DREAM hopes to empower students with disabilities to work for local and national change, encourage the development of disability culture and peer support, and advance the study of disabilities within academia. In keeping with the larger cross-disabilities movement, DREAM aspires to be as inclusive as possible.
Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN)
EARN is a free resource that helps employers tap the benefits of disability diversity by educating public- and private-sector organizations on ways to build inclusive workplace cultures. EARN offers information and resources to empower individuals and organizations to become leaders in the employment and advancement of people with disabilities.
Hire-Ability serves as a bridge between the business community and the mental health system for people who are ready, willing, and able to return to work.
International Disability Management Standards Council (IDMSC)
IDMSC promotes, through a system of policy, program and professional certification, the international acceptance, continued development, and broad-based implementation of consensus-based, outcome focused disability management policies, programs, and professional standards.
Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
JAN is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Working toward practical solutions that benefit both employer and employee, JAN helps people with disabilities enhance their employability, and shows employers how to capitalize on the value and talent that people with disabilities add to the workplace.
Kessler Foundation strives to improve the lives of people with physical and cognitive disabilities caused by stroke, multiple sclerosis, brain and spinal cord injury, and other chronic neurologic and musculoskeletal conditions.
Lime Connect is a global not for profit 501(c)(3) organization that's rebranding disability through achievement. We do that by attracting, preparing, and connecting high potential university students and professionals - including veterans - who happen to have all types of disabilities for scholarships, internships, The Lime Connect Fellowship Program, and full-time careers with our corporate partners - the world's leading corporations. We are breaking stereotypes and leading companies of every size, industry and location to understand the importance of, and fully value, the talent and strengths that employees with disabilities bring to the workplace.
Mobility International USA (MIUSA)
MIUSA is a disability-led nonprofit organization advancing disability rights and leadership globally. MIUSA is a cross-disability organization serving people with a broad range of disabilities.
National Center for College Students With Disabilities (NCCSD)
NCCSD is the only federally funded national center in the United States for college and graduate students with any type of disability, chronic health condition, or mental or emotional illness. NCCSD also has information for parents, faculty, and anyone working with college students. Higher education faculty and staff with disabilities can use the NCCSD, too. For free information and a good "first stop" any time, please go directly to the NCCSD Clearinghouse and search for topics of interest. Learn more about college and disability topics in the NCCSD Training Center.
National Center on Disability and Access to Education (NCDAE)
NCDAE exists to address issues of technology and disability in education policies and practices to enhance the lives of people with disabilities and their families. NCDAE works on policy, research, training and technical assistance, and dissemination of information. NCDAE accomplishes its purpose through an affiliate network of over 500 national and international partners in education, business and industry, and government.
National Organization on Disability (NOD)
NOD is a private, nonprofit organization that promotes the full participation and contributions of America’s 57 million people with disabilities in all aspects of life. NOD focuses on increasing employment opportunities for the 80 percent of working-age Americans with disabilities who are not employed. NOD offers a disability tracker.
Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)
ODEP, part of the U.S. Department of Labor, is the only non-regulatory federal agency that promotes policies and coordinates with employers and all levels of government to increase workplace success for people with disabilities.
Research on Disability
This highlights several Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers at the Institute on Disability. Particular areas of concentration are employment, statistics and demographics, education, health and program participation.
RespectAbility is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that understands we are a stronger community when we live up to our values—when we are welcoming, diverse, moral, and respect one another. We work with entertainment, policy makers, educators, self-advocates, nonprofits, employers, faith-based organizations, philanthropists, journalists, and online media to fight stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. Led by people with disabilities and those who love them, we know that people with disabilities and their families have the same hopes and dreams as everyone else, even if they face different challenges.
The Workplace Initiative is a national network of foundations, companies, nonprofits and government agencies that works to remove barriers to successful careers for people with disabilities.
Developed by the 2019 Careers for Students With Disabilities Task Force. Posted November 2019.