Student Accessibility Services

The Center for Career and Professional Development is committed to inclusion of all students in achieving their career development goals. The Center has a history of strong collaborative ties to the Center for Student Accessibility and works closely to establish individualized career planning, customized internship and employment advisement, as well as scholarship, fellowship and special opportunity information and referral for students identified with special needs. 

Career related workshops are offered each semester, relevant to the needs of students registered with the Center for Student Accessibility as well as other special needs students in the general population.  Accommodations are offered to insure that all special needs students have access to the full range of campus-wide career services and events offered by the Center, including accessibility and readability options within their student Careers24/7 account. The Center has established best practices cross-training for staff to insure that the individualized career plans of all special needs students are met promptly and effectively. 

As the future employees, graduate school students, or fellowship candidates, students with accessibility needs can often face unique challenges. They must find a way to meet the specific qualifications of their chosen career path, as well as demonstrate transferable skills such as effective written and verbal communication, reliability, decision making, leadership, and problem solving. They must also determine whether or not they will need accommodations to help them succeed in their elected field. Success in any work-based or academic learning experiences whether that be internships, volunteerism, service learning, fellowships, mentoring, research opportunities, or  jobs depends on carefully considered planning and preparation with your LEADS counselor at the Center for Student Accessibility and with a career specialist at the Center for Career and Professional Development.

For any student, the career planning process begins by learning to identify interests, skills, personality and values, and matching those to internship and employment opportunities through the career assessment process.  Many students who identify themselves with accessibility needs have been involved in extensive testing throughout their years in school and can sometimes resist the idea of more testing and assessment. However, they can benefit greatly from the formal or informal career assessment and testing process as they begin to think about future career goals and employment. Unlike other forms of testing, career assessments are relatively brief, informal, and most times entertaining and informative. More than anything, these tests can reveal valuable skills, qualities and talents that are often unknown to the student and can act as a catalyst to productive discussions with a career development specialist towards the goal of arriving at a realistic and meaningful career path
When an employer or internship supervisor meets you for the first time, they form an immediate and lasting impression based on appearance and behavior. Skill, academic achievement, and campus and community involvement are all important factors in how students are evaluated when launching an employment/internship search but, as it is often said, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”. The reality is that first impressions are formed by appropriate dress, grooming, and behavior. Success in securing employment, internships, or a seat in graduate school is, in large part, determined by the manner in which you present yourself which includes appropriate dress, grooming, and behavior. But it doesn’t stop there. Appropriate dress, proper grooming and professional behavior also extends to each and every day you are working at your internship or your job.

Students who need assistance in recognizing appropriate “candidate presentation skills” including dress, proper grooming, and acceptable behavior can request to meet with a career counselor and advisor at the Center for Student Accessibility and ask for feedback on the following questions - How do  I look? How do I dress? How do I act? Another option is to attend workshops sponsored by the Center for Career and Professional Development that emphasize the importance of  professional etiquette and behaviors  not only in a successful interview process but while you are “on the job.”  Finally reading “Do’s and Don’ts Business Etiquette Made Simple” brochure (hyperlink) and keeping a copy on hand when approaching an interview or any other career opportunity may also prove helpful.   

When applying for internships, employment, graduate schools or any other special opportunity programs, disclosure of a disability or needs for accessibility services is – first and foremost – your choice. It is a personal decision and one that you should undertake only after meeting with your advisor from the Center for Student Accessibility and discussing the benefits and possible drawbacks of doing so. Remember you are not legally bound to disclose and your decision to disclose should be based on what will help you advance in both your personal, academic, and career goals.

The following questions/guidelines should serve to prepare you for discussion with your counselor/advisor at the Center for Student Accessibility.

  • How comfortable you are discussing your disability and how detailed you would like to be in that discussion?
  • If your disability is a visible one, how prepared are you to clarify misconceptions potential employers/recruiters may hold regarding your abilities? 
  • Have you examined the job/internship description and are you prepared to speak of how your strengths make you qualified for the position?
  • Have you done your research and are you prepared to discuss any accommodations you may require as an intern or employee including any costs to both you and the employer?

If you do decide to disclose, how prepar