I think it’s safe to say that everyone is secretly praying for 2020 to be over. As we approach the end of October, I’m still trying to make sense of it all – friends have been disconnected, some have lost their loved ones to COVID-19, and many have lost their jobs.
I would like to shine light on a demographic that has been greatly affected – individuals with disabilities. Think about someone within your circle that has an extra challenge – mental or physical. Imagine what it’s like for them to do “normal” tasks like driving, walking, and finding a job. And with finding a job, not only do these individuals have to job search like everyone else, but they have the added pressure of trying to find an employer willing to provide accommodations.
A good friend of mine has an MBA from an Ivy League university and has worked in the oil and gas industry for over fifteen years. Although his resume and credentials are commendable, he struggles to get past the first interview. He believes it’s because his hearing aids are visible. He feels that while he is fully capable, employers might feel “uncomfortable” with hiring someone who “can’t hear” very well. Fortunately, my friend has built up his confidence to focus on his skills, strengths, abilities, and accomplishments. Then came the pandemic.
He fears that his employment opportunities will decrease because employers will prefer to hire the candidate with less “accommodation requests”. But here’s the good news: while his fears may be justified, there are employers who are willing to see beyond disabilities.
We understand that the job search process can be challenging, especially during these difficult times. Yet, don’t lose hope, don’t give up. Visit our Calendar of Events page from time to time; if you have a disability, check to see if you’re eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation Services; and connect with a Workforce Solutions’ office near you.
As we conclude the 75th anniversary of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) and the 30th anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act, Workforce Solutions will continue to advocate for people with disabilities.
Please see the following resources:
- National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2020
- Campaign for Disability Employment
- Job Accommodation Network
- National Disability Rights Network
- Workforce Solutions resource guidelines for hiring workers with disabilities
- Texas Workforce Commission (TWC)
- Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- USAGov: Jobs and Education for People with Disabilities
- O*NET OnLine Help: Job Accommodations
- ZIPPIA: The Career Expert
Soha Mohammed is a Regional Navigator for Workforce Solutions. As a native Houstonian and graduate from University of Houston with a Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communications, she is passionate about health and wellness, specifically workplace wellness, and strives to achieve her fitness goals daily and share her knowledge with others.