This blog is on topics of interest to early career professionals who work with people with disabilities. Blog contributors have diverse perspectives on leadership, professional development, and success in changing systems to better serve people with disabilities and their families. For more information on Early Career Professionals, check out the website:

29 June, 2015

One Simple Goal

Julia Nelson, BS
 Former Arizona LEND trainee
 University of Arizona
I have one simple goal, to reach as many people as I possibly can with my message of proactive unemployment prevention for students with disabilities.

Being a LEND Trainee prepared me for and coincided with the self-publishing and  release of  The College and Career Success Bible for Those with Physical Disabilities.  During this last year, sometimes I felt the time strain of taking on LEND and Publishing at the same time.  But, if I had to do it over, I would have done it exactly the same. Being a part of AZLEND was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  It provided me with tools and connections that so helped me push to reach completion.  My directors, Dr. Eileen McGrath and Dr. Sydney Rice, were amazing in the support they gave me during publication. I really cannot thank them enough.

Getting involved with both my LEND program and the AUCD network, really went hand and hand with the mission of my book.  My LEND graduation, was made extra special. Each of my fellow trainees, who I bonded with, got a copy of my finished book.  For me, it was a celebration of both milestones in my life coming to an end, and a new stage beginning.

 Having the privilege of being a LEND trainee this past year was invaluable in granting me this confidence.  I really urge the entire national LEND programs to follow Arizona’s suit and get more young professionals with disabilities involved as trainees.  

 Journey to Publication
My own experience with lack of guidance led me to write, The College and Career Success Bible for Those with Physical Disabilities.  Preparing to graduate high school I felt that if  you had expectations of getting at least a bachelors, working, buying your own home, so on, there was not a lot of advice for you.  Yet, despite of this, those with physical disabilities face unique issues that are not being addressed.  The main obstacle is still will we be able to find a job upon graduation?   Additionally, students with disabilities also have questions pertaining to attendant care, finding an accessible college, and how to obtain accommodations when they transition from IDEA to higher education and employment. Finding out about the Work Force Recruitment Program (WFRP) way after college, was a tipping point for me.  If only I had known, getting my first job out of college could have been easier.  While, self-publishing felt as if it took forever, the journey was definitely worth it.  

In a way, using the advice I would give any job seeker, but especially job seekers with disabilities. Network - research shows that networking is the number one way that people go from job seeker to employee.  Research also says, networking, is the number one way those with disabilities find jobs.   There is help out there for your job search. Seek and you shall find.  The number one piece of advice I would give to young professionals, is the same advice I’d give for anything that we face in life, never, ever, give up!   

Wherever this road leads, I know I will change lives by using my hard won insight to bring issues relating to higher education and employment to the forefront!  

The College and Career Success Bible for Those with Physical Disabilities is now available on Amazon.