People with disabilities remain an untapped resource in the nation’s work force, facing an unemployment rate of 70 percent.
NISH, a nonprofit organization that helps secure federal contracts for agencies that employ people with disabilities through the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Program, is working to change the status quo. The organization has introduced a new program whereby agencies designated as “Centers of Excellence” serve as mentors to other agencies to help them improve the quality of the service and products they provide to the federal government.
The Javits-Wagner-O’Day Program is the largest single source of jobs in the U.S. for people with disabilities. Often referred to as the JWOD program, it provides employment opportunities for more than 45,000 people who are blind or have other severe disabilities.
Through the JWOD program, NISH works with a network of more than 600 nonprofit agencies that employ and train people with disabilities.
The program stems from the Wagner-O’Day Act, passed in 1938, which provided employment opportunities for the blind by allowing them to manufacture mops and brooms to sell to the federal government. In 1971, Congress amended the act to include people with severe disabilities and to allow the agencies to provide services as well as products.
According to a recent Harris Interactive survey, two out of three people with disabilities who are not working want to work, but the lack of opportunities and accessibility issues prevent them from finding employment.
Executive Job Search: 3 Jobseeking Ways to Find a Job Faster
Got a difficult problem in your job search?
Say, a lack of networking contacts? Or trouble answering interview questions?
Well, you’ve got company. Problems in a job search are as common as mosquitoes in July.
But … have you ever written your problem down on a piece of paper?
I’ll bet you haven’t.
Because, when you write problems down, you take an immediate, huge leap towards solving them. Think about it: Every great invention or solution, from the atomic bomb to the Xbox, was first worked out on paper.
Why not solve your employment problems the same way?
Here’s a three-step method that will help you do it …
1) Start by asking the right questions
Most folks put themselves behind the eight ball in their job search by asking questions that are depressing and demotivating.
Questions like, Why won’t anyone give me a job? or How do I network when I don’t know anyone?
Ack. Pass the happy pills.
Instead, start asking questions that motivate and inspire you.
Better questions to ask are:
* How could I give people a reason to call me with job leads?
* How did my 10 closest friends find their current jobs? How could I brainstorm with them and use their methods in my job hunt?
* What worked in my last job search? The job search before? How could I do that again?
Important: Ask questions that you yourself can solve. Never depend on the government, your school, parents, family — anyone else — to do this for you. Because, once you give up responsibility for solving problems with your job search (or anything else), you become a prisoner of outside forces.
When you ask the right questions, however, you’re halfway to the answer. So write down at least five empowering questions about your job search, right now.
Then, you’re ready for step two …
2) Brainstorm at least 20 possible answers
After you write down five good questions, circle the one question that looks most promising. You’re going to use it to get hired faster.
Let’s say you write the following question down atop a clean sheet of paper:
How could I give people a reason to call me with job leads?
Write a number 1 below it. Write a possible answer next to that number. Then move on to number 2, 3 . and don’t stop until you have at least 20 answers to your question.
Not 15 or 19, but 20 answers — or more.
There’s a reason for this: Left to its own devices, your brain will pull a Homer Simpson after two minutes and try to talk you into going out for donuts or beer. Brains hate to think. Like bench pressing, thinking is strenuous work, no matter how good it may be for you.
But don’t let your head off the hook. Don’t stop until you get 20 possible solutions. Brainstorm as if your career depended on the outcome. Because it does.
Now. Most of your 20 answers won’t be very good — that’s OK. Your best answer may come right after the most hare-brained. By forcing yourself to write out 20 answers, you’re flushing the creative pipes while going deep into your subconscious mind to dredge up a winner.
Don’t knock it until you try it!
3) Take action on one solution today
Choose the most promising from your list of 20 answers. Then, get started — today — to make it happen. No excuses.
Let’s say the most actionable of your solutions is to throw a networking party where you can meet friends, family and acquaintances, and let them know about your job search.
Now. What do you need to do to make this party happen?
Well, you have to make the guest list, send invitations, get the food, etc. So write down all the sub-goals necessary for the party to be a success. Check each sub-goal off your list as you complete it. Before you know it, your networking party will be a reality.
After that, take the next most-promising solution from your list of 20 and make that one happen. Repeat until hired.
Here’s why these 3 steps work when it comes to solving problems — clear thinking plus continuous action equals results.
If you’re struggling to find a job, write down clear, empowering questions of your situation. Then, brainstorm at least 20 possible solutions and take action on the best one today. When you do, you’ll be that much closer to getting the job you really want, faster.
Now, go out and make your own luck!