By Guest Blogger Paul Hippolitus, Director, Disabled Students’ Program, Equity & Inclusion, University of California, Berkeley
Watch a YouTube video of Paul Hippolitus discussing UC Berkeley’s “Professional Development and Disability” course
As a longtime advocate and professional working in support of the employment of people with disabilities, I was very excited to recently report for work at the University of California, Berkeley — to have the privilege of assisting the University’s students with disabilities with both their education and career ambitions. UC Berkeley has some of the “best and brightest” of our young people with disabilities, so helping them to achieve their career goals seemed to me to be the easiest assignment I would ever have.
During my first few weeks at Berkeley, I embarked on a quest to ask every student with a disability I met the question, “What’s your career goal?” I couldn’t wait to hear about their lofty goals, serious plans and impressive ambitions.
Much to my chagrin, the response I most often got (about 99 percent of the time) was the student casting their eyes to the ground and saying, ”I’m not sure, I guess I’ll go on to graduate schools; or, law school; or medical school.”
I was shocked. Our “best and brightest” were just as perplexed about their career potential as most people with disabilities.