Exploring Military Options for Students with Disabilities
Since the inception of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 1990, more opportunities exist for students with disabilities after they graduate from high school. Numerous individuals with disabilities currently work for, or have worked with, the U.S. Military. Their service may have been as part of the civilian workforce or as enlisted or commissioned personnel. The differences between these three areas and military education programs are addressed in this document.
Some of our more prominent American military leaders had attention deficit disorder and/or learning disabilities, yet perservered to accomplish great things. General Westmoreland served as the U.S. Superintendent of West Point, the commander of the U.S. military advisors in South Vietnam, and the Army’s Chief of Staff. President John F. Kennedy served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, a U.S. Congressman, a U.S. Senator, and the 35th President of the United States.
The Civilian Workforce
The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard all have a civilian workforce (Civil Service). This workforce is composed of civilians who are employed on U.S. military installations; in everything from barbershops and bowling alleys, to engineering, education and nuclear science positions. These civilians also make up a large part of the work force in companies that contract with the U.S. Government. McDonnell-Douglas and Raytheon are examples of companies that hire individuals with disabilities under the protections afforded by the ADA.
A federal mandate states that all U.S. Military bases must have 10% of their civilian workforce composed of individuals with disabilities. The U.S. Navy proudly boasts that they have been ranked # 5 in the nation among all employers—private sector corporations included—who employ individuals with disabilities. Many civilian positions require applicants to be eligible for civil service. There are some civilian positions that require previous military experience. Visit www.federaljobs.net/exams.htm for more information on civil service exams/qualifications.
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