Category: Employment

Work, Disability Disclosure and Self-identification

For a person with a disability, how and when to disclose that disability, can be a sensitive issue. The first thing you should ask yourself is “Can I do the job?”. If your disability doesn’t affect job performance, then don’t include it on your resume. Don’t bring it up at an interview unless you have to. People with noticeable disabilities may want to disclose the disability at an interview. Each person needs to do what they feel comfortable with. INDEX  has put together  some resources to help you with making that decision.

Self-identification is up to each person.  Some things to think about disclosure include reasonable accommodations, visible disabilities and company culture. When—if ever—to disclose your disability to a potential or current employer is one of the most difficult issues people with visual impairments and disabilities deal with during the employment process.

Job seekers, has disability disclosure been hard for you to decide?  Has it been difficult to talk about job accommodations you might need?  

INDEX Work, Disability Disclosure and Self-identification

MA Financial Resources for COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many disruptions in daily life and financial setbacks for people throughout the state. Here are updated Massachusetts  resources for you to get public health updates, protect your identity, and learn about employment rights and unemployment benefits.

Areas include:

  • Consumer Financial Protection
  • My Financial Life
  • Financial Education
  • Guidance on COVID-19 Resources and Consumer Scams
  • Unemployment and COVID-19
  • Employee Rights and Employer Obligations

MA Financial Resources for COVID-19

Bullying, Workplace Harassment and Sexual Harassment

INDEX has updated our Bullying, Workplace Harassment and Sexual Harassment fact sheet with new resources related to diverse populations.  We hope that you will find these resources helpful in school, work and personal life.  Stopping and preventing Bullying and Harassment are important in the US today.

Unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. It can be actions like name calling, hitting, kicking or spitting, telling lies and spreading rumors, taking things that belong to someone else, or forcing others to do things they do not want to do  The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems. Children and adults with disabilities are 3 times more often to be involved with bullying or harassment than non-disabled peers.

Bullying, Workplace Harassment and Sexual Harassment  

 

 

The Human Service Workforce Crisis in Massachusetts

Hello, my name is Cheryl Dolan and I work in human services.

I moved from the UK in 1999, when many humans service agencies could not find staff and went overseas to hire them. We still have this problem today. We need to look at why this is and what we can do to change it.

Why is there a shortage in staff?

  • More people need support and services than before so need more staff
  • Wages are low and not too many ways to get promoted
  • Lack of people who are trained to do the job well

How does this affect people?

  • People have high turnover or unqualified staff working with them
  • People not getting the best care
  • Programs have to close, People  are losing services or are on wait lists
  • Families become stretched and have no help

What are human service agencies doing to address the issue?

  • Looking at how technology can be used to support people and reduce some staffing needs
  • Working with local and federal government to support them by applying initiatives for state employees to human service agencies
  • Looking at how to attract, train, and retain skilled employees.

How can you help fix this?

  • Make your voice heard! Make the people you vote for know you want to see increase in funding for wages
  • Support agencies seeking increased funding to provide higher wages for staff
  • Join advocacy movements like The Caring Force     

"The Caring Force logo"

Additional materials

Who Will Care? The Workforce Crisis

The Caring Force

Boston Herald: Opinion  Workforce Crisis Threatens Community

Chicago Tribune:  Article– Care Worker  Shortage

Fair Wages

Many workers living with a disability receive low pay from their 2 people advocating for fair wagesjobs. There is a law called the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA.  The FLSA helps protect workers from their jobs. Most people do not know that the FLSA has a section called 14 (c).  Section 14 (c) lets jobs pay low wages to people living with disabilities

Many people living with a disability in the United States are paid under $4 an hour.  Workers who are paid low cannot afford to pay rent.  They cannot afford to pay their bills.  They cannot afford to buy the things that they need.

Activists and lawmakers are working together to change the FLSA law by:

  • Fighting for higher pay
  • Fairness in the workplace
  • Better benefits
  • More jobs

The costs in America are going up every year to live here.  People living with disabilities have a right to fair wages

If you would like to know more about the Fair Labor Standards Act, please click below

Many people with disabilities are being paid low wages and its perfectly legal

Employment for Adults with Autism

Jobs.  We each expect to find a job when we are adults. Some people know exactly what they

want to do for a job. Many people try different jobs to find one that fits. For my son with

Autism Spectrum Disorder, (or Autism), a job is more like a hope or idea. He is now an adult.

He has skills that would be useful in different work places. The challenge is to find a work

place that will even let him try to work.

Is he the only person with Autism who is not able to find a job?  I wanted to find out. So, here

is what I learned about employment or jobs, for people with Autism. There are not a lot of

data on this topic. Data are collected for people with disabilities. But data are not often sorted by diagnosis.

This chart shows what I did learn about jobs for young adults with Autism. The chart showsChart of employment of young adults with autism

the employment rates for young adults who

have ever worked after high school. It specifies

rates by category. The rates are learning

disability, 95%, Speech/language impairment,

91%,  Emotional disturbance, 91%, Intellectual

Disability, 74% and Autism, 58%. It confirms

that my son is not alone in being unemployed.

There are companies looking to hire. Dell EMC in Central Massachusetts is

one of them. According to an article in the Worcester Business Journal on May

15, 2017, Dell EMC will have a hiring program. This hiring program will work to bring more

people with Autism into the company. They want to hire people with Autism for their skills.

It is good to read about a company that wants to hire people with Autism. This company needs

very specific skills. We will keep working on developing my son’s skills that might be useful in

future jobs. We will talk with our friends and families about hiring people with Autism. We

hope that there is a work place that will welcome our son in the future.

There is an article that summarizes the existing research about hiring an adult with Autism. (1.)

This article surveyed all the published articles that considered the costs and benefits to society,

to the person with Autism and to the employer. The first finding is that there is not enough

research being done on the costs and benefits to employers. It did find some results showing

that it costs society less to have people with Autism employed rather than not employed.

There are indications that people with Autism are happier and busier if they have jobs. The

hope is that more research will be done in the future. This research may show that it is not too

costly to employ people with Autism. Then, maybe more companies would be willing to

interview, train and hire people with Autism. It would make the hope or dream of a job,

become a real job for my son and his peers.

 

  1. The Costs and Benefits of Employing an Adult with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review

Andrew Jacob, Melissa Scott, Marita Falkmer, Torbjörn Falkmer

PLoS One. 2015; 10(10): e0139896. Published online 2015 Oct 7. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0139896

PMCID: PMC4596848 Article PubReader PDF–1.3MCitation

 

Abilities at work

My name is Scott Janz. I am a Job Coach. I help adults find jobs.

Man standing at work

Disabilities at Work

People with disabilities can work. Disability does not mean not able. I help many adults get hired. People with disabilities take pride in making a change. Jobs are important for all. I believe biases can be broken. Breaking barriers is vital. I help people reach fairness. Everyone deserves the same chance to get a job.           

Strengths at work

  • Hard work ethic
  • Low turnover
  • Increased diversity
  • Inclusion
  • Loyal
  • Productive
  • Consistent
  • Structured

 Bias at work

Bias exists at work for many adults.  Bias can take many forms. Bullying and stigma are examples. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects against bias at work. I work with adults at their jobs. I support their skills. We need to make work fun.

Dressing for an Interview

people attending career dayIt is difficult for people with disabilities to get a job. Only one-third of people with disabilities work full time. Sometimes we forget to care about what we wear to an interview.
I run Our Space Our Place, Inc., an after school and job exploration program for youth who are blind. One goal is to teach students about different jobs.
Each year there is an event called World of Careers. At the event, people who work talk about:

  • The tasks they do every day
  • The subjects they studied
  • How they looked for a job
  • Actions which help them to keep their job.

Why care about how you dress?

An employer talked about interviewing a person for a job. The employer was surprised that:

  • The person had not combed their hair.
  • The person’s clothing was wrinkled and looked as if she had slept in her clothes.

The employer liked the person’s resume. But the employer worried that if the person did not care about her clothing, the person may not care about the job.
Hearing this story, we invited a personal shopper to speak at World of Careers. A personal shopper works at a store and helps shoppers to buy clothing. This personal shopper spoke about dressing for an interview.

What were some of the ideas she shared?

  • Buying clothing for an interview is not expensive
  • Wear clean clothes
  • The clothes should not have wrinkles
  • Wear clean shoes

The Key to Success!

keySTRENGTHS

The teenage school years are a great chance for students with disabilities to find jobs they enjoy. However, the focus is often on what the student can’t do and still needs to work on.
Imagine if we:

  • focused on the student’s abilities
  • looked for what student’s CAN do
  • helped students try more new things
  • looked for jobs that match the student’s strengths and interests

A STORY

I heard a story once about a young man named Ken. He could not move any part of his body. Ken wanted to work. His team thought about what he was good at doing. One friend said, “Ken is really good at sitting still!” Ken’s career was started from that idea. He became a hand model! Now he is able to support himself on the money from his modeling job. This story is a great example of what can happen when we focus on strengths.

THE KEY

The teenage years provide a chance for students to begin jobs and follow their interests. I believe focusing on what people can do instead of what they can’t do during these years is the key to success and happy futures for our students.
For more information please visit: abilityawareness.com

A Positive Future: How Employment Has Made a Difference

This week we welcome our Guest Blogger, Shelande Laws, a client of The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and employee of a local laundry services company.

Finding the right job

My name is Shelande Laws. I found out about The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) from one of my counselors at the East Boston Counseling Center.
Two women reading a book

I called MRC and made an appointment for orientation. At the orientation, I was told what the MRC program is about. I got a caseworker whose name is Amelia Robbins-Cureau, and we had our first interview. Then I signed up to be a member of the One Stop Career Center. They have workshops to help you look for a job, work on your resume and find the right job for you.

Amelia and I worked together every three weeks on what I needed to accomplish a goal that would get me a job. I went on interviews, but they were not good jobs for me. I got to meet with a job specialist, Drew Ritter, at MRC who helped me look for work and go to job fairs. On my first interview with Drew, , someone came to our meeting looking for employees. I was interviewed for a job as a laundry attendant and I went on an On the Job Evaluation (OJE) for six weeks.

I am proud to say that I was hired in October 2012.

Interview with Shelande

Amelia: What do you like most about your job?

Shelande: I have been able to learn the job easily. Even when things were a little more difficult to learn, like the cash register, I have been able to learn it after a few times. The managers were so impressed with me that they asked me to do more than folding and washing. I also am enjoying having money to spend on things I need.

Amelia: What are you most proud of?

Shelande: I am proud of myself for being in good enough shape for this job. I did volunteer work at The Greater Boston Food Bank in order to get work experience and learn new skills. I am able to use those skills for a paid job.

Amelia: What advice would you give to other job seekers?

Shelande: Put your mind toward what you want to do and work toward it. Don’t give up whether you are trying to get through school, or a job. Even if a job doesn’t exactly match what you thought you would do, you might want to try it anyway. It will help you have money to spend, and be able to afford to live more independently. You will feel better about yourself, and see where you can get in the future.

Amelia: Any final thoughts?

Shelande: I want to give my deepest thanks to The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.Woman sitting in a chair

For additional information on resources for employment, be sure to check out New England INDEX’s Employment Resources Fact Sheet and Employment Support Services / Benefit Programs Fact Sheet .