What resources can help students with disabilities locate internships and other work-based experiences?
Students with disabilities have a wide variety of places to look for work experiences. They can access services available to all students, such as their schools' career services and cooperative education offices. Postsecondary students can utilize work-study opportunities, contact faculty for suggestions, and ask about opportunities at their human resources offices.
Students with disabilities can also benefit from exploring national resources developed specifically for them. High school students with disabilities can contact a program called High School/High Tech, which provides summer opportunities for students to explore careers in science, mathematics, and technology. The program is one of several initiatives of the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). High school students can also contact large employers in their regions to ask about summer internships, such as Microsoft's High School Intern Program. In addition, high school students may benefit from participating in activities like the national Disability Mentoring Day, held every fall, to increase their network of contacts for summer opportunities.
Both high school and college students may take an interest in the US Business Leadership Network employer groups, which meet regularly in many states for networking and to promote best practices in employing people with disabilities.
College students with disabilities can explore summer internship opportunities through the following organizations and programs.
- Entry Point! offers paid internships through partners such as IBM, NASA, Texas Instruments, JPMorgan Chase, and the National Science Foundation.
- The Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities (WRP) connects employers nationwide with highly motivated postsecondary students and recent graduates with disabilities for both summer positions and permanent employment.
- The National Business & Disability Council maintains a database of postsecondary students and recent graduates with disabilities who are seeking summer jobs and permanent employment. The database is used nationally by employers who are seeking qualified applicants with disabilities.
- Emerging Leaders matches postsecondary students with disabilities with paid summer internships at prominent corporations.
- The American Association of People with Disabilities(AAPD) internship programs offer postsecondary students challenging paid internships in Washington, D.C.
- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) sponsors the Undergraduate Student Research Program, which offers undergraduates across the United States research experiences at NASA Centers.