For Hispanic Heritage Month, we wrote about Dr. Fabricio Balcazar and his research on disabilities, capacity building, and employment for people with disabilities. During our exchanges, Dr. Balcazar shared with us his recently published article on entrepreneurship and people with disabilities. We’re highlighting this research in honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).
The article, An empowerment model of entrepreneurship for people with disabilities in the United States (published in Psychosocial Intervention), describes the creation of an entrepreneurship program through the Chicago Add Us In (AU i) Initiative, which is sponsored by the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) at the US Department of Labor (DOL). The entrepreneurship program described in the article helps counteract the barriers that people with disabilities encounter in relation to work, promotes empowerment, and facilitates the financial self-sufficiency of people with disabilities. The program has several key components that include: a course on how to write a business plan, technical assistance, mentoring, and assistance from a business incubator, and business grants. The article offers several in-depth case studies that show the process of empowering the consumer and how the entrepreneurship program effects the entrepreneurs with disabilities who have participated.
In honor of both Hispanic Heritage Month and NDEAM, we share some of our go-to resources, in English and Spanish, for people with disabilities looking for employment or who are currently employed:
- Small Business and Self-Employment Services (SBSES) is a service of ODEP and provides information, counseling and referrals related to self-employment and entrepreneurship for people with disabilities. You can reach them through the Job Accommodation Network at 800/526-7234 or check out their website at org/entre.
- National Telecommuting Institute (NTI) is an organization that is pioneering the development of telework jobs for people with disabilities. You can reach them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can check out their website at nticentral.org.
- VCU Rehabilitation Research Training Center conducts research on disability and employment, vocational rehabilitation, and supported employment. Current projects include the RRTC on Employment for People with Physical Disabilities and an Autism Center for Excellence. You can visit their website at worksupport.com or you can call them at 804/828-1851 (V), 804/828-2494 (TTY).
- Proyecto Visión is a bilingual project that connects Latinos with disabilities and employers. You can reach them via email at email@example.com or visit their website at proyectovision.net/index_spa.html (look under the “Recursos” tab on the top right and then click on “Buscar empleo” to find their employment resources).