How Do I Get a Job after a disabling injury?
The following is an email that I received from Ken in Texas. It was
so appropriate, I thought I would share it...
I am six months into a spinal cord injury. Out of the hospital about a month.
I have been looking for information such as you offer and I need.
What about a job.? How do I get back to work? Any ideas? I do not want your
money. I want ideas ideas and information.
Ken, Great question and attitude! While I was thinking about it, I realized that in the six years since my accident (which resulted in complete paraplegia), I've learned an awful lot about getting a job after a spinal cord injury. Let me see here.....
First - the place where you received your rehab (some hospital, I presume) should have a case worker who might be able to help get you back on your feet (so to speak). Usually, but not always, there is a case worker who is assigned your case while you are in therapy. That case worker teams with your physical therapist, your occupational therapist, nurses, doctors and anyone else who worked with you. They should be able to provide you with specific information that would help you get back to work. If you didn't have a case worker, how about:
Check with your local Vocational Rehabilitation agent. The US Government Voc Rehab office can help you train for another vocation if necessary. They can point you to job fairs and other resources. They can give you training for a new job, and job interview training. They can do all sorts of good stuff for you.
If you have not already done so, apply for Social Security Disability Income at your local Social Security office. I didn't apply because I thought I was ineligible. About a year and a half after my accident someone told me I should have applied a year before that. I finally did, and was approved, even though I thought I wouldn't qualify. Check it out.
Check around your county for a Center for Independent Living or CIL. CILs are organizations that are run by disabled people, for disabled people. Note, I shouldn't really use the word ";disabled" because the whole point of a CIL is to let people like you and me know that we can get back to work and integrate ourselves into the community again. We're not as "disabled" as many able-bodied people might think. In the Knoxville area there is a CIL called the disAbility Resource Center or DRC. It has a web site at http://www.drctn.org. It offers citizens job interview training, Independent Living Plans, information and referral services, and other training programs. I googled ("Center for Independent Living" Texas) and got a whole bunch of hits. Good luck on hunting for a nearby CIL.
Sometimes, the place where you worked prior to your accident will have special programs that you can use to get a job. Sometimes, there will be other jobs within the company that you can apply for. Some companies actually seek out people with disabilities because they know that they are "hungry" for the work. (Having a job really improves your outlook on life.)
The Web: You are already surfing around on the web. You can also search for job placement web sites where you can post your resume or search for jobs. You can search for jobs online and get a good idea of what is available in your area. I googled "job placement resume" and came up with a bunch of sites. Narrow the search by adding your location. That is all that I can come up with right now. Hopefully, some of it will be useful to you. Let me know how it goes. Good Luck!