A primary goal for many individuals with disabilities is to work and become self-sufficient, yet getting the experience necessary to be competitive in the job market can be a challenge. National service programs such as AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps VISTA, and Senior Corps can provide that experience through a structured volunteer job. This allows the individual to develop vocational skills, explore career options, and develop personal and professional networks to help in future job searches.
“Everyone says you need experience or no one will hire you.
Path to Employment and Self-Sufficiency
National service is very different from other volunteer opportunities. While allowing an individual to give back to their community, AmeriCorps programs also offer:
- A living allowance
- An educational award that can be used for a variety of training opportunities when the individual completes service
- A structured work environment to learn new skills
- Opportunity to work as part of a team
- Feedback on their performance
- Membership development activities that support their learning
National service programs have made a commitment to support the inclusion of individuals with disabilities. Many state service commissions have disability service coordinators to assist in this process, and to support programs to address any accommodations needs.
For individuals who are looking for a different approach to developing their skills and getting experience, national service may be an important step in their employment plan.