Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities

As a DSS coordinator a question I liked to ask my students was what their goals were beyond school. Where are you going with the education you are working on now?

Of course that was just the bait and was followed up with questions about what else they have done to prepare for the workplace. Ultimately, going to work is what they were usually getting their education for and, quite often, they had not even addressed the second question.

Naturally, a good resource for students with disabilities is the campus Career Counseling office. However, for more specialized attention, you can direct your students to the,
Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities
(COSD) web site.

The website has a strong collection of resources and a national network of individuals, universities, and employers to assist in providing resources to students with disabilities seeking employment. It is specialized and serves the same population you serve. Check out the link above and take the time to explore the site. Registration is free and gets you access to the growing membership database. It is one of those tools that it can’t hurt to have at your disposal.

It was actually a Career Counselor at my university who introduced me to COSD during my graduate assistantship. I quickly realized that there is some good work going on at COSD.

To maximize service to your students, there is a good opportunity to explore a strong alliance between the DSS office and the Career Counseling office. During my job as a DSS Coordinator, my colleague and I frequently called upon our Career Counseling office. It really helped that the Director of Career Counseling was housed across the hall. Our offices had a close working relationship and we often collaborated on services to the DSS clients.

What do you think? Is this a feasible collaboration at your school? If a DSS office is unable to provide assistance in helping its student’s reach their end goal of going to work, have you really done all that you can to serve your students?

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