Seize Your Superpower
Students with disabilities lead our learning environments toward a deeper understanding of what makes us uniquely human through our differences in ability. Navigating UCSB with a disability may be a highly individualized experience, but it does not have to happen alone.
Career Services is committed to ensuring that students of all abilities gain access to employment opportunities and graduate schools that match goals and qualifications. We are here to help you enhance your employability and highlight the value you offer to the workforce with a focus on individual talents and needs. Use this page to move your career forward alongside any disability.
Key Campus Resources @ UCSB
Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP)
Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) is a “Schedule A” recruitment program that connects federal government and private-sector employers nationwide to highly motivated college students with disabilities. UCSB currently participates in WRP, providing access to opportunities that range from summer internships to full-time positions, for all class levels in all occupational fields.
For an overview of the program, watch the Student Guide to WRP video, read Success Stories from past applicants, or review the FAQs for WRP. Questions can be emailed to the Community Liaison to Students With Disabilities indicated on this page.
Registration is currently closed and will reopen in September 2021. Click the items below for details regarding the current application cycle (2020-21).
To be eligible to participate in WRP for the 2020-21 recruitment cycle, you must meet all of the following criteria:
- Be a current U.S. Citizen.
- Be currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program at UCSB on a full-time basis (part-time students are eligible under if the reduced course load is due to a disability/COVID-19 OR if taking less than a substantially full-time load in last quarter prior to graduation) OR have graduated with a degree on or after April 1, 2018.
- Be a student with an intellectual, severe physical, or psychiatric disability under the "Schedule A" hiring authority (all students at UCSB who are registered with the Disabled Students Program are instantly eligible; consult the "Schedule A" Checklist for details).
Registration is currently closed.
When registration is open, submit your Registration Request by clicking on the Student Registration button on the WRP Website and complete the initial registration form for New Student Registration. No late registration forms will be accepted. Note that your next deadline comes up quickly; see Step 2 for required steps.
Once you have received an email confirming that your New Student Registration has been approved, log into the WRP website to submit your Student Application (Note: You must use the link in your email to login the first time).
Your completed application and all documents must be submitted by Thursday, October 15, 2020:
- Identification and Contact Information
- Resume (Traditional Format OR Federal Format); you are encouraged to utilize Document Review from Career Services for general feedback
- Transcript (Official or Unofficial)
- Academic Information including major, degree, GPA, number of credit hours, credit type, etc.
- Disability Category (for statistical purposes only, not shown to federal agencies)
- Optional: Supporting documents, such as letters of recommendation, writing samples, and "Schedule A" letter
If you require accommodations for your upcoming Informational Interview (see Step 3), please email the Community Liaison to Students With Disabilities indicated on this page to inquire about options by Thursday, October 15, 2020.
Example accommodations include:
- ASL Interpreter
- Captioning Services
- Video Interview
- Written Interview
- Extended Time
All candidates who register and apply by the above deadlines will be contacted via email between October 21-23 to schedule a 30-45 minute Informational Interview via phone with a WRP Recruiter, which will take place between October 26-November 18.
The Informational Interview is not a job interview, but a safe space for candidates to receive brief mentorship on their career goals and resume. WRP Recruiters do not evaluate candidates, but instead provide advice, feedback, and guidance about careers in federal service.
Here is how to prepare for your Informational Interview:
- Review the WRP Student Information Interview Guide and research careers in federal agencies you are interested in.
- Create a list of questions you would like to ask about careers in federal service for your specific goals (you can begin by exploring career options on USAJobs).
- Practice the general process of asking and responding to questions using your free Big Interview account and tips on how to Do Informational Interviews.
- Find a quiet space and begin the session on time as scheduled (instructions will be provided via email).
To maintain your candidacy in the recruitment process, it is required that you respond to all communications within a timely manner and conduct your Informational Interview at the time that is scheduled. For questions at any point during this process, please email the Community Liaison to Students With Disabilities indicated on this page.
Begin taking steps to obtain a "Schedule A" letter. The "Schedule A" letter is not required in the WRP application process, but candidates must confirm that they are eligible for "Schedule A" and they should have a "Schedule A" letter on hand or be working to acquire one in fall. Candidates will not upload this letter to the WRP website, but should be prepared to provide it to an agency’s Human Resources official when it is requested prior to receiving an offer of employment. WRP candidates cannot be hired by federal agencies through "Schedule A" without a "Schedule A" letter.
Here are the recommended guidelines on "Schedule A" letters for WRP:
- Must be written and signed by a licensed medical professional, certified vocational rehabilitation professional, or any federal/state agency that issues or provides disability benefits.
- Must state that you have an intellectual disability, severe physical disability, or psychiatric disability. Does NOT need to state the specific nature of the disability, detail any medical history, or explain needs for accommodation. (Note: The simpler the letter is, the better.)
- Must be printed on official letterhead in a format similar to this Sample "Schedule A" Letter.
Note: If you are registered with the Disabled Students Program (DSP), you are able to use the same letter that you submitted for DSP eligibility, if you feel comfortable and if it follows the above guidelines. Alternatively, you can obtain a new letter that follows the recommended format. "Schedule A" letters do not expire, though you should confirm that the certifying entity can still be reached at the contact information provided.
In mid-December 2020, all candidates who complete Steps 1-3 will be placed into a government recruiting database and can be contacted by various federal agencies for interviews or direct offers of employment between December 2020 and June 2021 for summer positions, and up until December 2021 for permanent positions. Please note that placement into the recruiting database does not guarantee that candidates will be contacted for interviews or employment offers, however, past candidates from UCSB have received follow-up offers from federal agencies.
If you are contacted with an offer of employment and you accept, it is important to note that "Schedule A" hires have a probationary period of two years. You will be able to inquire about this further with an agency's Human Resources official during the hiring process. We also encourage you to review our Don't Get Scammed tips to identify warnings signs of potential scams regarding job offers, as scams can occur with any form of job searching.
To gain the most benefit from WRP, we recommend that you utilize a proactive job search strategy to introduce yourself and Make Targeted Connections with federal agencies. In your introduction, you can choose to share that you have earned the "Schedule A" hiring authority through WRP, which can make the hiring process more direct for any federal position. You can explore career options further on the USAJOBS page for Individuals With Disabilities, as well as any resource within the USAJOBS platform.
Gain Experience: Students With Disabilities
For complete information on internships, student jobs, research opportunities, extracurriculars, and more, review our starter tips to Gain Experience in all careers as well as the specialized tips on this page.
Students with disabilities can gain meaningful experience that builds qualifications outside of the classroom. Many students who participate in these opportunities not only enhance their qualifications toward their career goals, but also learn how to navigate work environments through a deeper understanding of themselves. Specifically, many experiential opportunities can present similar environments to help you learn about your disability, which can be useful for future career planning.
Types of Experience
As you evaluate options that suit your individual goals, needs, and preferences, click the items below to see some examples of experiential opportunities to consider with disabilities.
Internships often require little-to-no prior experience and provide you with hands-on training in your career of interest. Internship recruitment typically occurs one, two, or three quarters in advance of a position’s start date, so it is important to plan ahead.
Here are some internship programs specifically intended for students with disabilities:
- Emerging Leaders Internship Program for College Students with Disabilities (Viscardi Center): Places undergraduate and graduate college students with disabilities in fulfilling internships nationwide that also provide them with meaningful leadership development and networking opportunities.
- Entry Point! (American Association of the Advancement of Science, AAAS): Offers paid, 10-week internships to students with disabilities majoring in various STEM and business disciplines.
- Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP): Offers support to UCSB students with disabilities seeking federal jobs and internships in a range of fields and locations across the nation.
One way to gain experience through extracurriculars is by getting involved with organizations that are dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities. Through these organizations, you can safely express your concerns, find resources, and even gain transferable skills to enhance your career.
Here are some organizations that offer opportunities to get involved:
- California Department of Rehabilitation: Works in partnership with consumers and other stakeholders to provide services and advocacy resulting in employment, independent living, and equality for individuals with disabilities.
- Learning Disabilities Association of America: Offers opportunities to advocate for people with learning disabilities by encouraging effective identification and intervention, fostering research, and protecting their rights under the law.
For more information regarding acquiring experience through extracurriculars, and other activities, visit our Gain Experience page.