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Students and Young Adults

Employment Stories

Are you thinking about working and need more information because you're not sure how to look for work, or even what kind of work interests you? Or do you know what your dream career is and need to know the next step towards that career? Whatever your questions are about the world of work and careers, it is important to learn about the people and the resources that can help you. You can get started by watching the videos in the collections below.

Vocational Rehabilitational Services & Me

Vocational Rehabilitation Services: Jack’s Jobs 

Bemidji mascot Lumber Jack introduces you to high school students with disabilities who share stories of how their Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors helped each of them to get training and careers in Audio production, Mass communications, Cosmetology, Childcare, Construction technology, Graphic design, Veterinary tech, and Theater. (5 min)

Larry Clay’s Success Story 

Larry is young man with autism who has been working full-time on the Set-up Crew at the Mark Center for almost 3 years. This video takes you on Larry's successful journey to becoming a fully employed young adult, with help from his high school Transition Counselor, a Vocational Rehabilitation Services Counselor, a Job Coach, and the Ticket to Work program. (8 min)

Supported Employment 

Ashton is a Part-time Assistant. Sarah is a Part-time Kennel Attendant. Darrin is a Full-time Assistant. They are all young adults with disabilities who found work at the Seaford Veterinary Medical Center, with the support of their Job Coach from the local Vocational Rehabilitation Services office. In this video, they tell their stories. (4 min)

Customized Employment 

What is customized employment? Customized employment is a process where a person with a disability and an employer work together, often with support from a Vocational Rehabilitation Services Job Coach, to create a job that meets both of their needs. This video features Sean, a young adult with a disability, and his customized employment experience at Barnes and Noble. (4 min)

Pathway to Employment: Craig

Craig was in a car accident, and had a Traumatic Brain Injury. He had to learn how to walk, eat, and talk again. In this video, Craig tells his story about how he returned to work as a welder, with support from an Employment Specialist at the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Office. The Employment Specialist helped him get accommodations at work. (4 min)

Additional Resources

Vocational Rehabilitation Services 
Vocational Rehabilitation Services work with youth and young adults with disabilities to plan their careers and transition from school to work. Every high school in Minnesota has a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, who works with IEP teams to help students make choices about job goals and to help students find the services they may need to reach their job goals. Find out more how a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor could help you today!

Young People with Disabilities Share Their Own Stories About Work

Meet Jared

Meet Jared, a young man with cerebral palsy who runs his own graphic arts business online. Jared shows you how he uses a sip and puff switch to type, control the mouse, and do anything else he wants to do on his computer –from designing websites for his customers to playing checkers in his free time! (4 min)

Meet Nick

Meet Nick, a young man with cerebral palsy who runs his own lawn care business. Nick shows you the adapted van he drives, with a driving knob on the steering wheel, custom foot pedals, and hands-free controls for the turn signals, the windshield wipers, and the headlights! Nick also shows you the adapted lawnmower he operates for work, and the adapted computer he uses to email his customers. (4 min)

Meet Brandon Ziemke

Meet Brandon, a young man with an intellectual disability who is going to college and working part-time at Kowalski’s. Brandon talks about overcoming obstacles, the impact of caring adults in his life, and his hopes and dreams for the future. (3 min)

411 Disability Disclosure

Disclosing your disability is a very personal decision. It means making an informed decision when or if to tell someone about your disability. Your decision will affect you at school, at work, and in your social life. In this video, Nellie, Alex, Nick, and Mimi talk about how they made their own decisions to disclose their disabilities, and how it changed things for them. (4 min)

Meet John

John is an Assistive Technology Specialist at PACER Center and a young adult with a cognitive disability. John talks about understanding his disability, finding his strengths, and the role high expectations played in his academic and career success. (4 min)

Work Early, Work Often: Young Adults with Disabilities

As a young professional with Cerebral Palsy, Meredith shares how the high expectations of her parents and her early work experiences prepared her for a successful career. Today she manages a program where she leads a staff of four people. (3 min)

Serve Overseas: You Always Have Something to Contribute and Learn

Meet Allen. Fascinated with the overseas experiences of a friend who joined the Peace Corps, Allen followed her example and became a Peace Corps volunteer himself. Allen is a Teacher who is Deaf, and he shares his stories of empowering Deaf students in Kenya, Zambia, and Guyana, from 2007-2011. Now he works at the Peace Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C. (2 min)

Additional Resources

Skills to Pay the Bills Video Series
Soft skills are the everyday social skills that you need to succeed on the job. Soft skills are things like communicating clearly and appropriately, remembering work directions, working well with others, and knowing how to solve problems. Watch the videos in this series to see how new employees Lydia, Allie, Travis, Mark, Jason, and Jessica learn lessons in soft skills on the job. They discover that improving their skills in communication, problem solving, teamwork, and showing a positive attitude are the keys to their success at work.

Disability Disclosure
Deciding to tell your employer about your disability is a difficult and personal choice. How do you know what choice to make? When is the best time to disclose? What happens if you don't disclose? In this video, a young man with a disability who is applying for a job talks about these questions with a friend.  (3 min)

Where Else Can I Get Help?

Danette Smith: Job Search and Interview Tips

In this video, Danette talks about what employers look for in a resume, how a Job Coach can help you in a job interview, how a mentor can help you make connections that may lead to a job opportunity, why a cover letter is important, and how your family can help you get ready for a job interview. (4 min)

The Job Accommodation Network: JAN is here for YOU!

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is a free service of the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. JAN helps people with disabilities get accommodations at their workplace so that they can succeed on the job, and many of these job accommodations are different kinds of assistive technology. This video uses simple drawings and easy-to-understand language to explain how JAN could help you. (4 min)

Meet Ben! An Introduction to Ticket to Work

Work gives you opportunities to earn income, meet new people, and learn new skills. What is the Ticket to Work program? And how can it help you? This video answers these questions with simple drawings and easy-to-understand language. Meet Ben, an animated character who goes on a journey to figure out the services and supports he could be eligible for by applying to Ticket to Work. (5 min)

Additional Resources

The Path to Independence: Mobile Apps to Support Transition-Age Youth
If you are a young person with a disability, there are many free and low-cost mobile apps to support you on your journey toward college or technical training after high school, job training, employment, and independent living.  With so many choices of apps for your cell phone, iPad, or tablet, it can be hard to choose one! This index of apps has easy-to-understand descriptions of different apps that may help you, and links to more information.

Getting Started: Executive Function Skills at Work
Your brain’s executive functions help you plan, stay organized, manage your time, and keep track of your own progress on small tasks and big goals. Learn about strategies and assistive technology tools that can help you in the workplace.

Executive Function Skills at Work: How Technology Can Help
You use your brain’s executive functions every day on the job. For people with disabilities, this can be a challenge. Read on about the variety of assistive technology tools and strategies that you can use to support your brain’s executive functions in the workplace.