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Experiential Learning

for Students with Disabilities

-setting students up for job search successLeah Pasquesi and Ali Reimel

U.S. Bureau of Labor 2012 statistics
13.4% of people with disabilities unemployed vs. 8% of people
without disability unemployed
Self-advocacy and strategic disclosure are key to experiential learning and
job success.
Students with hidden disabilities are fastest growing population on college
Campuses need make adjustments and change their approach in order
to support this growth.
Formal education and professional experience in working with this student
population is limited making it difficult to support influx.

What Works on Campuses

Counselors as advocates and success partners
Team-based, collaborative support networks across campus offices and
Increased awareness and education for critical campus partners
On-going training opportunities
Feedback model from students and campus partners
Partnerships with outside agencies
Examples: employer partners, vocational rehabilitation professionals,
non-profit agencies

Build Your Own Program

Split into groups of three.
Build a program intended to prepare and support students with disabilities
as they prepare to join the workforce.
Questions to Consider:
Who are some stakeholders?
Who is involved in the program and to what capacity
What resources are already available on campus?
What additional resources might you need?

Northeastern University is highlighted as a comprehensive and effective
program for supporting students with disabilities in experiential learning
and job attainment.
Lets take a look!
What are the aspects of NUs program that makes it so successful?

Disclosure and Self-Advocacy

In order to utilize these programs, self-advocacy and disclosure are
Experience shows us that students who disclose attain accommodations
and gain access to better experiential learning and job opportunities.
United States Labor Department video:
Disclosing a disability in the workplace:

Thoughts? Reactions? What are the issues in encouraging self-disclosure

in this way? How do we support students in making a disclosure choice?

Cutway, L., Porter, V., & Mahoney, S. (2012, June). Strategies for Preparing a Well-Rounded and Self-Assured Job.
Retreived from
Disclosing your disability [Video file}. Retrieved from
McCarthy, D. (2007). Teaching self-advocacy to students with disabilities. About Campus, 12(5), 10-16.
U.S Government Accountability Office. (2009, Oct). Higher education and disability education needs a coordinated approach to
improve its assistance to schools in supporting students. Retrieved from
Vance, M.L., Lipsitz, N.E. & Parks, K. (2014). Beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act: Inclusive policy and practice for
higher education. Washington, DC: NASPA.