In the 2018 fiscal year, 16 percent of Minnesotans with disabilities who received state services worked in the community alongside people without disabilities. Chris Serres, Star Tribune, 3/16/19
How is this real? That number needs to be a hell of a lot higher than 16%. I am NOT one of the 16% by the way… although I did get paid to be a keynote speaker a year ago. That was my first and only paid work.
We have to rethink what employment looks like and be open to a variety of work options for people with a wide variety of abilities. For example, I want a part-time job with the option to work from home. I love to write and advocate for disability rights and am good at public speaking. I love testing out assistive technology, applications, and pretty good at using WordPress. I have a lot to offer, it just takes me longer to do what I want to do.
I think it’s time to rethink traditional college and how some of us with disabilities can get our first jobs – especially those of us with severe physical disabilities. I’ve written about this before, but the amount of time and energy for me to take just 1 college course is a lot. One college course means that I have very little time for doing anything else like writing in my blog, getting out in the community, advocating for disability rights, or more importantly going to concerts. I’m not sure it’s the best use of my time and would take me about 8 years to get an Associate’s degree. So, what kid of job am I going to get without a degree? Or do I need to create my own kind of work because when I’m not a college student, I don’t get to do internships or have those other entry points into the writing or communications work I’d like to do.
Let’s all get more creative and figure out how we can connect people with jobs, especially those of us who aren’t following traditional paths.
Read the article Minnesotans with disabilities fight barriers to inclusion, unfilled promises by Chris Serres. Really, read it right now! And share with all of your friends, family and random strangers!
And read the first two parts of my Barriers to Inclusion blog post week. Really, read them right now! And share with all of your friends, family and random strangers!
Here are a couple of posts from a younger me related to college and work: