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 prepared are you to respond to what might be some uncomfortable questions such as

  • “Can you be a dependable employee?”
  • “Can you complete the jobs given to you as effectively as another potential employee?”
  • “What can you contribute to this company?”

If you decide to disclose, have you scheduled an appointment with your advisor at the Center for Student Accessibility to practice your responses to some potentially challenging questions?  
If you chose not to disclose your disability, have you researched the company and the job description thoroughly so you can be sure you are able to complete the tasks required by the position?
In the case of non-disclosure, are you aware that you are not entitled to receive the accommodations you may need and, if you cannot perform the duties required by the positon description, you can legally be let go from the position. 
Timing of disclosure really relies upon your comfort level and in depth advisement of this issue with your advisor from the Center for Student Accessibility. The following guidelines are designed to help prepare you for a one to one advisement session.
 

Disclosing on Your Résumé or Cover Letter:
Pro: This will give you peace of mind about being honest with a potential employer. 
Con: An employer may not give you the chance of presenting your qualifications knowing you have a disability so early on.

When an Employer Calls You for an Interview: 
Pro: You will no longer have to anticipate when you will address the issue with the employer. 
Con: An employer may not take you as seriously during the interview and/or be biased when meeting you.

During the Interview:
Pro: This will allow the employer to get to know you a little before you disclose.  This in combination with the face to face interaction may help resolve any bias or discrimination. 
Con: The employer may be made uncomfortable and/ or surprised, affecting the interview.

When You Are Offered the Position:
Pro: The employer will be informed of and can arrange any accommodations you may require. 
Con: An employer may develop a feeling of mistrust.

After You Start a Position:
Pro: You have a chance to prove your abilities on the job prior to disclosure, minimizing the effects of stigma.  
Con: If your disability affects your ability to perform on the job there may be legal recourse.  Also if you require accommodations, you will not have them available to you when you start working.

After an Issue Related to Your Disability Arises on the Job:
Pro: You will have been given the opportunity to display your skills on the job.
Con: You may be accused of falsifying your qualifications and you may lose the trust of your employer and coworkers.

Sample Disclosure Scripts:
“I have disability name.  I am confident I am able to do this job with the following accommodations. (Remember to list them).   I am eager to join your team and work with you and contributing to your company.”
I am choosing to let you know that I have a disability.  It doesn’t completely define me.  Rather, it has helped me grow in ways that differentiates and strengthens me.  My disability has provided me with an opportunity to see the world in a different way and has contributed greatly to my motivation to work with and contribute to others and I will bring all of that to this position. 

For more examples of disclosure statements, visit disabledgo.com

Final note: Issues related to disclosure or non-disclosure should always be discussed and decided upon in the context of an individual appointment at the Center for Student Accessibility.  

Hiring Complexities

We all possess strengths that make us highly qualified to work in a position.  It is important to identify what qualities set you apart from others and focus on how these specific qualities will make you more qualified for this position than other potential candidates.  Unfortunately, as an individual with a disability, you may come across employers who have preconceived stereotypes.  Being aware of these stereotypes will enable you to combat them and present examples of your abilities in your résumé, cover letter, and interview.  These potential barriers to employment as well as résumé and cover letter development, presentation skills and interview preparation should always be discussed with your CUNY LEADS counselor and/or career specialist at the Center for Career and Professional Development.

Travel Skills and Resources

The application process for internships, employment, graduate school or other opportunities may require several interviews with recruiters.  Almost always, interviews involve both local or tri-state area travel and commuting, if you secure the position. It is important to think through not only how willing and able you are to travel for an interview but if you are able to manage the regularly scheduled commute for an acquired internship or job. If regular travel presents a challenge to your acceptance of any opportunity, there are resources available to help you overcome this issue. First and foremost, discuss this issue with your LEADS counselor at the Center for Student Accessibility. There are also some helpful hints for travel at

Internship/Employment, Fellowship/Scholarship and Graduate School

As the future employees, graduate school students, or scholarship/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 to develop an Individualized Career Plan (ICP).

Career Readiness

Readiness  for an internship or employment search, is defined as being equipped to find, acquire, and retain an appropriate internship or employed position as well as being able to manage the personal and professional transitions to that position. There is an important distinction to be made here in your career planning process.  Many students with accessibility needs are very willing to conduct an internship and employment search. Unfortunately, willingness alone will not advance that search to the next level of hiring. Building “Readiness” skills may. Ask yourself the following question “Am I ready to try? If you have accomplished your goals in the all the above mentioned areas of Career Development Responsibilities (hyperlink to above), your answer should be a resounding “Yes!”  
Saying “yes” involves putting into practice all the skills you have learned about in your career planning and preparation. Practice is the key concept here. Like any other set of skills – sports, computer proficiency, playing a musical instrument, etc., practice improves your skills and increases your opportunity for success.  Internship and Employment search skills are no different. The more you seek out opportunities to practice, the more your skills will improve. With consistent advisement and support from the Center for Student Accessibility and the Center for Career and Professional Development, participate in the Center’s semester programs/events as referenced in your ICP (as opportunities both to “practice” your skills and to launch your internship/employment search).

Resources

Websites Committed to Helping Individuals with Disabilities Gain Employment:
AbilityLinks- “AbilityLinks is a nationwide, web-based community where qualified job seekers with
disabilities and inclusive employers meet and gain access to valuable networking opportunities.  Job seekers who want to connect to employers by voluntarily self-identifying having a disability use AbilityLinks to post resumes and apply for jobs. No information about disability type is asked.” https://www.abilitylinks.org/

ACCESS-VR- Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCESS-VR) offers comprehensive vocational rehabilitation to working age adults with disabilities, including: skills assessment, education, skills development and job placement. http://newyorkcity.ny.networkofcare.org/mh/services/agency.aspx?pid=NYSEducationDepartmentACCESSVRStatenIslandDistrict_754_2_0

American Foundation for the Blind CareerConnect- “The American Foundation for the Blind removes barriers, creates solutions, and expands possibilities so people with vision loss can achieve their full potential.” http://www.afb.org/info/living-with-vision-loss/for-job-seekers/12

Asperger Syndrome Training & Employment Partnership (ASTEP)- “The Asperger Syndrome Training & Employment Partnership (ASTEP) promotes the inclusion of individuals with Asperger Syndrome and similar autism spectrum profiles in competitive employment through: Awareness and training campaigns aimed at Fortune 1000 companies; Establishing relationships between high quality support programs for adults with Asperger’s throughout the US and national employers; And, developing Corporate Partners to implement integrated employment programs for adults with Asperger Syndrome.” http://asperger-employment.org/employment-resources/

Birch Family Services- Birch Family Services is a team of more than 3,000 teachers, therapists, social workers, psychologists, nurses, residence counselors, administrators, board members, and family members working together: To provide the finest education, habilitation, and residential services to people with autism and other developmental disabilities. To help their families overcome the lifelong obstacles they face in raising children with disabilities. http://www.birchfamilyservices.org/index.html

Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities (COSD) – “COSD offers many opportunities to connect with higher education professionals, other employers and college students with disabilities.” http://www.cosdonline.org/

DIsabledperson.com- “We boast over 40,000 active jobs with hundreds of new jobs posted every day from all across the U.S. posted by companies who are looking to hire people with disabilities.” https://www.disabledperson.com/

EmpAcc- “EmpAcc is a one-stop employment service for all persons with disabilities who wish to access assistance in preparing for, obtaining and maintaining competitive employment.” http://www.disabilityaccess.org/employment-access.html
Enable America- “Enable America’s objective is to increase employment among people with disabilities in the United States.” http://www.enableamerica.org/
Entrypoint-Entry Point is the signature program of the AAAS Project on Science, Technology, and Disability. Entry Point identifies and recruits students with apparent and non-apparent disabilities studying in science, engineering, mathematics, computer science, and some fields of business for outstanding internship and co-op opportunities. http://ehrweb01.aaas.org/entrypoint/

Federal Jobs for People with Disabilities- “The Federal Government is actively recruiting and hiring  persons with disabilities. We offer a variety of exciting jobs, competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and opportunities for career advancement. http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/disability-employment/

GettingHired.com- “Providing a safe and secure environment is top of mind and our employer partners have a vested interest in hiring the most talented individuals for their companies. We seek to work with companies who are making a concerted effort to hire people with disabilities and are constantly looking to improve their program through best hiring training programs for a variety of teams.” http://www.gettinghired.com/

Hire Disability Solutions- “The mission of Hire Disability Solutions is to give all that want a chance to succeed, the opportunity to succeed. Hire Disability Solutions was founded in response to the increasing demand for services for individuals with disabilities. Additionally, we aim to promote inclusion into the mainstream employment world.” http://hireds.com/

Institute for Career Development- ICD has been helping people transform their lives through career development and employment for almost 100 years. We specialize in serving New Yorkers with barriers to employment gain economic independence through career planning and evaluation and career school programs. http://www.icdnyc.org/

Lime Connect- ”Lime Connect is leading the way as the premier resource for top talent in the disability space by attracting, preparing and connecting highly accomplished individuals with disabilities for careers with the world’s leading corporations.” http://limeconnect.com/

The National Business Disability Council– “The National Business & Disability Council (NBDC) at The Viscardi Center is an employer organization and comprehensive resource for disability best practices.” http://www.viscardicenter.org/services/nbdc/job-seekers/

The Office of Personnel Management- OPM works in several broad categories to recruit, retain and honor a world-class workforce. http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/disability-employment/

Project Hired- “Project HIRED, a 501(c)3, not-for-profit organization, maintains a single vision: to be a significant force for the employment of individuals with disabilities until the need no longer exists. http://projecthired.org/

Work Force Recruitment Program- “The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) is a recruitment and referral program that connects federal sector employers nationwide with highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs. The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the U.S. Department of Defense's Office of Diversity Management & Equal Opportunity (ODMEO) manage the program, which continues to be successful with the participation of many other federal agencies and sub-agencies. Since the program's expansion in 1995, over 6,000 students and recent graduates have received temporary and permanent employment opportunities through the WRP.” https://wrp.gov/

Websites Committed to Helping Individuals with Disabilities Gain Employment and/or Internships:

Entrypoint-Entry Point is the signature program of the AAAS Project on Science, Technology, and
Disability. Entry Point identifies and recruits students with apparent and non-apparent disabilities studying in science, engineering, mathematics, computer science, and some fields of business for outstanding internship and co-op opportunities. http://ehrweb01.aaas.org/entrypoint/

Freddie Mac Internship Program (Autistic Self-Advocacy Network)- “At Freddie Mac, you’ll have a rewarding career as you play a role in helping the nation recover from the housing and economic crisis, and implementing the President’s Making Home Affordable program.” http://www.freddiemac.com/careers/campus/pdf/phase_1_intern_program.pdf

The National Business Disability Council Emerging Leaders Program- “Studies have proven that volunteering or participating in an internship are the best predictors of future success in the workplace. The Emerging Leaders Summer Internship Program for College Students with Disabilities gives college students with disabilities the opportunity to jumpstart their career path and gain a competitive edge.” http://www.viscardicenter.org/services/nbdc/emerging-leaders/

The National Center for Learning Disabilities- “The mission of NCLD is to improve the lives of the one in five children and adults nationwide with learning and attention issues—by empowering parents and young adults, transforming schools and advocating for equal rights and opportunities. We’re working to create a society in which every individual possesses the academic, social and emotional skills needed to succeed in school, at work and in life. http://www.ncld.org/employment/

The United States International Council on Disabilities Youth in Development Internship Program- “The United States International Council on Disabilities is a federation of US-based non-governmental organizations, federal agencies and individuals committed to advocacy and action on behalf of the global disability rights agenda.” http://www.usicd.org/template/page.cfm?id=257

Smithsonian Internship for People with Disabilities- “This program provides paid internship opportunities annually at the Smithsonian for people with disabilities.”http://www.smithsonianofi.com/internship-opportunities/access-to-opportunities-smithsonian-internship-program-for-people-with-disabilities/

Work Force Recruitment Program- “The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) is a recruitment and referral program that connects federal sector employers nationwide with highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs. The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the U.S. Department of Defense's Office of Diversity Management & Equal Opportunity (ODMEO) manage the program, which continues to be successful with the participation of many other federal agencies and sub-agencies. Since the program's expansion in 1995, over 6,000 students and recent graduates have received temporary and permanent employment opportunities through the WRP.” https://wrp.gov/
The following website contains a list of the top ten companies in 2015 for individuals with disabilities http://www.diversityinc.com/top-10-companies-people-with-disabilities/.

Travel Resources:
http://web.mta.info/nyct/paratran/newsletr/travel.htm
https://www.disability.gov/resource/disability-govs-guide-transportation/
http://www.makoa.org/travel.htm
http://www.independenttraveler.com/travel-tips

Scholarships and Fellowships

There are many scholarship and fellowship opportunities offered to students who have a documented disability or can prove physical, family, or psychological hardships in their lives.  The application process for scholarships and fellowships demands a great deal of time and effort and usually requires students working with a faculty member or the designated Fellowship and Scholarship Coordinator for the institution. The CSI Scholarship Program is open to all full-time CSI students who have achieved at least a 3.25 GPA and students with accessibility needs who meet the eligibility requirements are encouraged to apply.  Applications become available during the fall semester, and the annual deadline occurs on the last business day of February. Students may inquire about the application at the Institutional Advancement & External Affairs Office, 1A-401C. The City University of New York also offers scholarship opportunities and all students are welcome to apply.  For students registered with their campus Center for Student Accessibility, there is the CUNY Matthew Goldstein Scholarship, which has an annual deadline in June and provides tuition waivers for unmet state financial aid (TAP). These awards, along with the CSI Scholarship Program application, and a multitude of additional external scholarships, can be viewed by visiting our scholarships page and accessing CSI’s Fellowship and Scholarship Database online, which contains a section specifically for students with disabilities. Students are also advised to view all award categories that pertain to them and carefully consider the eligibility criteria for each award.  Within the database, students may also review free scholarship search websites and advice for building candidacy

Graduate School

Applying for graduate programs follows a process similar to scholarship and fellowship applications and often includes writing a statement of purpose, obtaining letters of recommendation, and completing an   interview with an admissions recruiter.  However, for students with special needs, additional forms and information may also be part of the application process, such as accommodation requests, equipment, and material. Students should consult with graduate admissions personnel at the school they wish to attend to ensure they have secured all necessary documentation and that the institution is in compliance with ADA guidelines.  Students may also want to evaluate whether or not the institution provides a supportive environment that promotes and celebrates diversity.  For information regarding graduate programs at the College of Staten Island, contact the Office of Recruitment and Admissions, located in 2A-103, at 718.982.2019 or visit our graduate admissions site

For graduate programs within CUNY, students may visit: http://www.cuny.edu/admissions/graduate/prog-search.html.

All students should exercise caution when searching for programs outside of CUNY (including CSI), because some websites contain programs from schools that have paid premiums to be featured on the website. These websites may not provide accurate information about the school’s ranking and reputation. Students are encouraged to use Peterson’s Graduate and Professional Programs Guide, a trusted and reliable resource for graduate school information. Students may visit the CSI Library for access to this guide, which may only be used within the library facility.

For comprehensive information regarding graduate study and personal statement writing, students may click on the following link for more information:
https://www.e-education.psu.edu/writingpersonalstatementsonline/p1.html  


For assistance in applying for scholarships, fellowships, and graduate school, please visit the Office of Institutional Advancement & External Affairs, Building 1A, Room 401, and ask to meet with the Fellowship and Scholarship Advisor or visit our scholarships page

 

Leadership Opportunities

Leadership experience can strengthen scholarship, fellowship, graduate school, or other special opportunity applications. For information about leadership opportunities on campus or the community, please visit
Student Life