How Workers with Disabilities can use Technology to Advance Careers
We have a guest author this month, Marcus Lansky; Founder, Abilitator.biz
While disabilities may have once held workers back from advancing their careers, starting a business, or obtaining a college degree, technology has made it easier than ever for individuals with physical, mental, intellectual, or communicative disabilities to achieve their personal and professional goals. From home-based business opportunities to remote jobs and distance learning, there are many ways workers with disabilities can use technology to further their careers. Check out these tips to learn all about them:
Remote Learning Opportunities
Online education programs may be the best solution to obtaining the skills and knowledge needed to advance your career if your disability makes in-person learning a challenge. Amidst COVID-19, many colleges and universities are working to make the online learning experience as accessible as possible to students with physical, mental, intellectual, and communicative impairments — and certain types of assistive technologies can make distance learning even easier. A few of these assistive technologies include:
- Text-to-speech software.
- Ability switches for scrolling, typing, and moving a mouse.
- Mouth sticks and head wands.
- Page-turning tools like PageFlip.
While finding accessible online learning programs can take some time, the National Center for College Students with Disabilities Clearinghouse (NCCD) offers some tips on what to look out for when searching for schools and degree programs.
Home-Based Business Ideas
In addition to online learning opportunities, starting a home-based business could be a great way to advance your career while accommodating your disability or impairment. According to The Brand Boy, some of the best home-based business ideas for individuals with disabilities include consulting, designing, affiliate marketing, data entry, bookkeeping, virtual assistance, medical transcription, and pet sitting.
When launching a small business from home, there are some additional steps you may wish to take. These include:
- Obtaining a disability certification. With help from GetDiversityCertified.com, you could obtain a Disability-Owned Business Enterprise (DOBE) certification through Disability:IN — or a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) certification through the National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA), National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC), or Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These certifications could help to grow your business, boost your reputation, and connect you to new opportunities — especially if you work with clients in the corporate, nonprofit, or government sectors.
- Building a remote team of workers. If you’ll be hiring one or more team members, you’ll need to learn how to manage them effectively when you’re all working remotely. Good communication and collaboration will be key to the success of your home-based business, so be sure to utilize communication platforms like Slack. With Slack, you can create team and project-wide channels and newsfeeds for sharing relevant information and keeping in touch with your workers.
If entrepreneurship isn’t the right career path for you, you can still reap the benefits of remote work by searching for work-from-home jobs. Thanks to modern-day technologies, it’s easier than ever to find remote work opportunities that will allow you to work from home and avoid the many obstacles of commuting to — and working in — a physical office environment.
If you have skills in areas such as writing, web development, sales and marketing, or information technology (IT), for instance, you can use online job boards like Upwork to search for freelance opportunities that will allow you to comfortably work from home. Many freelancing sites have their own mobile apps as well, which can help to make your job search even easier. Other great job search websites for individuals with disabilities include AbilityJobs, Land a Job, and CareerCast Disability Network.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’ll be participating in online learning, starting a home-based business, or landing a remote job opportunity, you’ll soon find that technology makes it easier than ever to advance your career and pursue your personal and professional goals. Plus, HomeAdvisor offers some tips on creating an accessible home office space that’s complete with the right lighting, furniture, assistive technologies, and other essentials for your specific needs.
Are you getting ready to launch a disability-owned business from home? Contact the team at GetDiversityCertified.com to begin the diversity certification application process. 800-544-1210