Construction workers discuss a planLooking for more information on how to find blue-collar or non-office jobs? Learn more about training supports, accessibility resources, and apprenticeships and networking opportunities can help you find a job. We explore resources and supports that can help you on your journey to find financial independence through work outside the office.

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Think Outside the Office: Finding Non-Office Jobs

Oct 8, 2019

Construction workers discussing a planIn our blog post, Think Outside the Office: Discovering Blue-Collar Occupations, we explored career paths that include non-office work. As we discussed in that post, technological developments have changed what hands-on careers, often called "blue collar," entail and have increased the opportunities that are available for job seekers with disabilities.  

Now that you know why non-office work might be right for you, let's take a look at how you can find a job that fits your work goals and interests.  

Ticket to Work

If you are an adult age 18 through 64 and receive Social Security disability benefits (SSI/ SSDI) and want to work, the Ticket program may be able to help you set and pursue your employment goals.

Through the Ticket program, interested job seekers can connect with a service provider, like an Employment Network (EN) or a State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency, to receive work-related services and supports. With support and resources, you can find the path to reach your career goals and financial independence through work.

Some ENs may offer job placement that includes non-office work. You can also get help building or rewriting your resume, preparing for interviews, and other job preparation services. Some ENs, especially workforce ENs, may offer job training. If you require reasonable accommodations due to a disability, a service provider can also help you determine additional resources and supports to help you succeed in the workplace.

Training Support and Accessibility Resources

While many employers offer on-the-job training, individuals may also seek help and additional employment-related resources from organizations that specialize in disability inclusion. The Job Accommodation Network (JAN), Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT), and other organizations dedicated to disability employment, offer resources and tools to help with transitioning to the workplace. For example, if you have a learning disability and need assistive technology for training, PEAT offers information on accessible technologies for work. If you use a mobility aid, such as a wheelchair, and have questions about accessibility in the workplace, JAN offers practical advice and support for requesting accommodations.

Apprenticeship

Some employers offer apprenticeships in order to attract the right talent to fill vacancies in non-office positions.

If you've identified an industry or type of job that you'd like, an apprenticeship can help you get the experience you need to pursue a career in that field. Students and individuals interested in a blue-collar industry often use apprenticeships to develop their skills and learn what it's like to work in manufacturing and technical positions. In addition to training, many apprenticeship programs include paid positions and certification credentials. Sources such as https://www.apprenticeship.gov/ allow you to search for apprenticeship opportunities by occupation, company and location.

Apprenticeships are available in a variety of occupations, including industries like:

Manufacturing a Promising Future: Josh’s Success Story

At the age of 4, Josh was hit by a car and experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that affected his cognition and mobility. Josh craved an active career where he could earn a living contributing to his community, but he worried about how working and earning income would affect his Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Connecting with a Benefits Counselor helped Josh better understand his benefits and discover Social Security Work Incentives that would help him as he transitioned to work.

A transition program at Josh's high school connected him with a local EN that helped him identify his work goals and internship opportunities in the manufacturing industry. With support from his EN, Josh succeeded in his internship and was offered a full-time position with the company where he feels proud of his financial independence and contributions to his community.

  • Energy
  • Farming
  • Hospitality
  • Information Technology
  • Manufacturing
  • Transportation and more

If you're interested in a hands-on career or non-office work, an EN or your State VR agency can help you search and apply for apprenticeships and jobs that match your employment goals.

Networking and Volunteering

Many employers offer job-specific training and additional learning opportunities. If you attend a training course, you can talk with an instructor about how to further develop your skills or even get connected with people in your field of interest who are willing to share information about their experience in the trade. These types of informational interviews are another way of networking that can lead to career opportunities.

Volunteering also provides unique opportunities to network. In addition to giving you the opportunity to meet new people and grow your network, volunteering offers you the chance to develop and practice skills that are important in the workplace. Find volunteer opportunities by checking out resources in your community or search online at:

Consider networking and volunteering as part of your path to work. Volunteering can open doors for you to connect with people who can provide insight and advice for your job search.

Learn more

To learn more about the Ticket program, call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket program Find Help tool.

Learn more

To learn more about the Ticket program, call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket program Find Help tool.

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