Young adults with disabilities may be uncertain which career options are open to them and worry that the job market is insufficiently amenable to their needs. While we still have a long way to go in creating a perfect, disability-friendly work culture, we have made tremendous advances in disability awareness in recent years and workplaces have grown more accommodating. Careers in business — especially business ownership — are increasingly popular options for adults with disabilities. So if you are a young adult with disabilities, don’t rule out a business career as your path to financial success and security.
Pursuing a college degree can open more doors.
While not every successful business person has a college degree, pursuing higher education may create a wealth of additional career opportunities. For a high-paying career, degrees in engineering tend to lead to jobs with excellent salaries. Mathematics, statistics, and finance are also good degrees if you are aiming for lucrative work. A degree in computer science is also extremely versatile as it can lead to opportunities in fields related to architecture, data, and AI. College education not only creates more employment opportunities; it can also be a great springboard to starting your own business. For instance, you could use your computer degree as the foundation for a tech consulting business. Don’t rule out careers in the arts or applying artistic interests in fields such as design either.
Make your first years count.
Those with disabilities may look ahead with trepidation as they prepare to compete in the workforce. If you are entering a competitive market, it’s easy to be discouraged at the prospect of competing against other young adults who don’t face your particular challenges. Keep focused on what gifts you have to offer, stay confident, and think about how you can have an edge in your field. See if internships are available through your university or via local job fairs, and have your resume ready and polished.
Having an internship can be especially valuable when it’s time to seek your first entry-level job since many, paradoxically, expect candidates to have some experience. It’s a good idea to secure the mentorships of seasoned professionals in your field, especially those who also experience disability, and see whether they can guide you towards — and recommend you for — good entry-level jobs.
Other business ideas for adults with disabilities.
If you prefer to self-direct, starting your own business might be a good option. Business ownership offers certain advantages to those who have disabilities, including the freedom to create their own work environment and to put their skills to use on their own terms. Some who enjoy the culinary arts and thrive on social interaction might find food carts or catering businesses rewarding. If you are adept at work requiring focus on detail, an accounting or copyediting business might be for you. Other options include internet technology, web design, or opening an ecommerce store for custom-made items. The important thing is to be clear about what you enjoy and know you’re good at. Then, research what entrepreneurship options might be open to you.
Look for the resources that can help you.
There are many resources to assist young adults with disabilities, whether you are hoping to acquire a college degree or thinking of launching your own business venture. You may be eligible for a scholarship, grant, or loan to attend school, based on your particular type of disability. When researching possible programs, find out which colleges are most highly rated for persons with disabilities and which have programs especially geared towards assisting those with special needs. There are also grants for adults with disabilities entering the workforce or entrepreneurship. Know your rights that are protected under the law, too, and be prepared to advocate for yourself if needed.
If you are uncertain about where to begin on your journey to success in business, don’t be afraid to ask the advice of a trusted acquaintance or a professional equipped to offer you guidance. Be honest about your concerns, as well as about your gifts, abilities, and interests. New Horizons Supported Services, Inc. has plenty of information and practical resources to assist those with disabilities as they survey career options. Contact us today to learn more (301.249.0206).
Image via Pixabay