by Rachel Vilsack
The road for job seekers with disabilities often can be difficult in a competitive labor market. In Minnesota about 1 in 10 people has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Minnesota ranks fourth among states in the employment rate for working-age adults (ages 21 to 62) with disabilities in 2010. At 44 percent, the employment rate of adults with disabilities is still much lower than the 82 percent employment rate for people without disabilities.
Many in the Minnesota disability community find help with the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS), which provides counseling, job-search assistance, training and workplace accommodations to help people with disabilities achieve rewarding careers. Likewise State Services for the Blind helps people that are blind, visually impaired, or DeafBlind find the right kind of training, preparation and workplace accommodations.
Partnerships between workforce development officials and businesses can often connect those who are under-represented in the labor market with employers who value the skills and experience these workers bring to the job.
How and Where to Apply
If you have a disability that makes it hard for you to get and keep a job, you may be eligible for a variety of counseling, training, job skills, and placement services. The first stop for a job seeker should be your local WorkForce Center or other stand-alone VRS office in Minnesota. They can provide information about services and help you apply.
There are many more services and resources available to job seekers with disabilities.
- Disability Benefits 101 – Provides tools and information about health coverage, benefits, employment, and how work and benefits go together.
- Job Accommodation Network (JAN) – Aids the employment and retention of workers with disabilities by providing job accommodations as well as self-employment and small business opportunities.
- Minnesota Work Incentives Connection – Helps people with disabilities understand how work affects their government benefits.
- Ticket to Work Program – Offers people receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) more choices and opportunities for getting the services they need to go to work.