By Catalight Contributing Editor: Dan Middleton
Earlier this year, I started publishing articles about finding employment for neurodiverse adults. As we are now in the middle of National Disability Employment Awareness Month #ndeam, I wanted to remind everyone that there is a lot of work to do, even in a booming job market, to help neurodiverse adults find meaningful work. There is still a gap of five million jobs without people to fill. This lack of workforce is extraordinary and unprecedented at the same time.
If you are following these articles and looking for employment, this information could help you gain traction in finding that job. The one thing that may be missing right now is understanding what additional education, upskilling or training you need as a potential hire.
We learned there are more barriers to employment for neurodivergent candidates than their neurotypical counterparts. In our May 2022 Article, we discussed how gaps in resumes and other issues create barriers to employment. Most applicant tracking systems will search and remove resumes with gaps in employment, preventing them from getting through the system.
Pay attention to how you present your employment history and know how to proceed when you are up against algorithms and sorting programs. In July 2021, the United States Chamber of Commerce produced a chart of barriers to employment for persons with disabilities. People identified obstacles they encountered in their job searches. Of those surveyed, most reported their disability was a barrier to employment in July 2019 (79.0 percent). Other barriers included lack of education or training (12.2 percent), lack of transportation (10.6 percent) and the need for special features on the job (9.9 percent).
This article explores how to bridge resume gaps with education and training so that it reaches a recruiter. It’s important to stay active and continue learning while you are in-between jobs and applying. The first step is to keep engaged in education and training. And before you apply, you should know what you are good at and what you like to do.
To help you figure out your plan and skill set, check out MyNextMove which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training. It’s a resource that provides detailed information on the salary, skills and knowledge needed for most positions. It lists gap requirements, training levels, licensing and certification requirements. In addition, go to the MySkills MyFuture website and enter the type of job you are interested in, it will list the information you need to start working toward that career.
Learning and Education:
Community college is a great place to start for those who have graduated from high school and aspire to further their education but can’t do a full-time gig at a university. In Northern California, community colleges have specific programs for people with disabilities, offering a full range of education programs and alternatives for finding work, especially apprenticeships. Community colleges can provide training in manufacturing, transportation and logistics, agriculture, entrepreneurship, culinary, education, energy, health care, information technology, life sciences and public safety. Check out the local Bay Area Community College Consortium for more information.
Most people think of apprenticeships with unions as centering on things like carpentry, welding, masonry and the like, but they are not limited to just these kinds of jobs. For instance, agriculture, automotive, healthcare and manufacturing industries also provide apprenticeships. In a recent meeting with the Work Force Development board, employers and service providers strategized how to make 500,000 apprenticeships available in California by 2029. For more info on all state-provided apprentice programs, check out the Department of Industrial Relations.
Since early 2022, we have published 5 articles on finding a lifetime of employment for neurodiverse candidates. They all work together to help candidates from the beginning of their journey to now. Check out the links below.
Article #1 Finding a Lifetime of Employment on the Spectrum
Article #2 Navigating Applicant Tracking Systems for the Neurodivergent Job Seeker
Article #3 Navigating Your First 100-Days of Employment
Article #4 Making Meaningful Career Connections with Neurodiverse-friendly Employment Services
Article #5 Employee Accommodations for the Neurodiverse
About the author:
Dan Middleton is the Clinical Excellence Planning and Development Leader at Catalight. He is also a BetterUp Fellow Coach providing career and leadership coaching services, as well as a volunteer Career Coach at AASCEND.
Part 6 of the series, “Finding a Lifetime of Employment on the Spectrum,” has dropped! In this edition, Catalight’s contributing editor and certified career coach, Dan Middleton, talks about bridging gaps in employment with education and training. October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, be sure to check out the other articles in this series on our LinkedIn page. hashtag#Catalight hashtag#neurodiversity hashtag#autism hashtag#employment hashtag#NDEAM