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Gain skills

From volunteer work to college, explore options for developing skills for your career.

Image of a man for gain skills image.Preparing for your career can take a variety of forms. See which opportunities below might be the best fit.

Volunteering and internships help you gain work experience 

Volunteering is unpaid work. You can gain skills like writing, childcare, teaching, coaching, mentoring, sales, phone answering, organizing materials, arts, and more. An internship is a short-term job that may be paid or unpaid, that gives students and other adults work experience. Both are good ways to develop your job skills,  contacts, and confidence. Look for opportunities in your area, and in the resources below.

  • Contact your local action center to find out about a wide range of volunteering opportunities in your area.
  • AmeriCorps is a national service program for adults ages 18 and older. Some positions pay a small stipend, and all offer excellent work experience.
  • SeniorCorps connects adults ages 55 and older with meaningful volunteer service opportunities in their area.
  • Emerging Leaders places college and graduate students with disabilities in summer internships.

Apprenticeship combines hands-on work with training

Apprenticeships combine a full-time job with training, and prepare you to enter specialized fields. The Registered Apprenticeship Program is a way to enter about 1,000 different careers, including Automobile Mechanic, Construction Laborer, Electrician, and Pipefitter.

College programs support long-term career goals

  • Find a variety of answers to frequently asked questions for the college-bound student with a disability from the Heath Resource Center for Youth Transitions at George Washington University.
  • Almost all colleges have an office of disability services where applicants or students will find tools, resources and support for their academic and social experience as a college student. Check your college’s website for services.
  • Find schools that participate in a higher education network through Getting Hired, a group that empowers individuals and veterans with disabilities.
  • For help deciding on a career and a college major, look at information on starting salaries and employer demand for different careers. Find details in our labor market information section, or at your local American Job Center.
  • If you are getting ready to graduate, check out the Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities a free, nationwide program connecting college students and recent graduates with disabilities with employers, for both permanent and temporary positions.

College costs can be made affordable