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AAPD Announces the Launch of the AAPD Alumni Network

by | Feb 24, 2020 | Press Release

For Immediate Release: February 24, 2020

Contact: Keri Gray, (202) 521-4310, kgray@www.aapd.com

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF) are pleased to announce the launch of the AAPD Alumni Network, to capitalize on the success of the AAPD Summer Internship Program.

AAPD and MEAF joined forces in 2002 to design a congressional summer internship program for college students with disabilities, and today it remains the leading disability-specific internship program on Capitol Hill.

AAPD has placed more than 300 students with disabilities through the summer internship program in the halls of Congress and beyond, and has witnessed much success in the students’ transition to full time employment, while also becoming influential leaders in their respective industries.

“For nearly 30 years, the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation has invested in efforts to empower the next generation of employees with disabilities,” says Kevin R. Webb, MEAF’s Senior Director. “The success of the AAPD summer internship program demonstrates the value of paid summer internships in career development for students with disabilities, and the AAPD Alumni Network will serve to expand on that success,” continued Webb.

Through the Alumni Network, made possible with a new two-year grant from MEAF, AAPD will sustain their relationship with and support for the next generation of leaders beyond the course of one summer.

“Thanks to the success of the internship program and the generosity of MEAF, AAPD is excited to expand our efforts by engaging nearly 20 years’ of AAPD alumni who are now working across the civil rights community, in corporate America, and in public service,” says Maria Town, AAPD’s President and CEO. “Through this engagement, we will develop insights into mid-career development for professionals with disabilities and further best practices in mentoring,” continued Town.

The AAPD Alumni Network will equip participants with resources to advance in their careers and will include an Ambassadors Council—a core group of internship alumni who are passionate about cultivating opportunities for young professionals with disabilities. Programming will include activities related to employment and two regional in-person meetings in California and Washington, DC so alumni can connect, network, and learn from each other, as well as share their knowledge and empower the next generation of AAPD summer interns.

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AAPD is a convener, connecter, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities. As one of the leading national cross-disability civil rights organizations, AAPD advocates for the full recognition of rights for the over 60 million Americans with disabilities. AAPD’s programs and initiatives have been effective in mobilizing the disability community through communications advocacy; cultivating and training new and emerging leaders with disabilities through leadership development programs; increasing the political participation of Americans with disabilities and elevating the power of the disability vote through the REV UP (Register! Educate! Vote! Use your Power!) Campaign; and advancing disability inclusion in the workplace through the Disability Equality Index (DEI) — the nation’s leading corporate benchmarking tool for disability equality and inclusion. To learn more about AAPD, visit www.aapd.com.

The Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, based in the Washington, DC area, was established in 1991 by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation and the Mitsubishi Electric U.S. companies, which produce, sell and distribute a wide range of consumer, industrial, commercial and professional electronics products. The Foundation has contributed more than $18 million to organizations that are empowering young people with disabilities to lead more inclusive and productive lives. To learn more, visit www.MEAF.org.