Summer Internship Program

Since 2002, the AAPD Summer Internship Program has developed the next generation of leaders with disabilities and offered host employers access to a talented, diverse workforce. Each summer, AAPD places college students, graduate students, law students, and recent graduates with all types of disabilities in summer internships with Congressional offices, federal agencies, non-profits, and for-profit organizations in the Washington, DC area. Each intern is matched with a mentor who will assist them with their career goals. AAPD provides the interns with a living stipend, transportation to and from Washington, DC, and fully-accessible housing.

At the beginning of the summer, interns participate in a 1-week orientation session to learn about AAPD and the disability rights movement, meet the other interns, and participate in a variety of engaging workshops and events. As part of the AAPD network, interns also receive opportunities to attend events on Capitol Hill, conferences, community events, briefings, and more.


Disability Advocacy Certificate Program

New in 2018, AAPD is working with The George Washington University’s Semester in Washington program to develop an academic component to our existing Summer Internship Program. This will take the form of a credit-optional certificate program with two weekly courses. In addition to gaining hands-on experience in high-level internships, students will now have the opportunity to learn about the functions of government and issues impacting disability advocacy. We will bring in multiple guest speakers with real-world experience to provide their expertise, share their insights, and create an opportunity for conversation with the students. We are grateful to AT&T and Centene Corporation for making the Disability Advocacy Certificate Program possible.


Federal IT Internship Program

AAPD is pleased to announce support from Microsoft to offer a Federal IT Internship Program within our broader 2018 Summer Internship Program. The two IT interns will be a part of the regular Summer Internship Program class and participate in the same activities, but will be specifically placed within the IT departments of federal agencies. We are excited to partner with Microsoft to offer students with disabilities access to high-level IT internships.


State Capital Expansion

Thanks to multi-year support from the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, AAPD is expanding our Summer Internship Program to the state level. In 2018, we are partnering with disABILITY LINK, a center for independent living outside of Atlanta, GA. AAPD and disABILITY LINK will run a summer internship program for three Georgian students with disabilities that connects the students to internships within Georgia state government. The interns will also participate in training and networking events organized by disABILITY LINK. AAPD hopes to further replicate this model to reach additional states.



Support for the 2018 Summer Internship Program is provided by:

Aid Association for the Blind of the District of Columbia



Application Process for the Summer Internship Program


The 2018 Summer Internship Program will run from June 3, 2018 to August 11, 2018. Candidates for the AAPD Summer Internship Program must submit the following:

  • Applicant Information (Section 1 of the Application)
  • A resume (Section 2 of the Application)
  • Responses to the three (3) essay questions (Section 3 of the Application)
  • Two (2) letters of reference (Section 4 of the Application)

We strongly encourage answering the essay questions in a separate word processing program and copying them into the online form so that it can be submitted in one sitting. Incomplete or late submissions will not be considered. We will not consider any materials in excess of the stated requirements. Applicants chosen for the AAPD Washington, DC Summer Internship Program release all information contained in their application for use on the AAPD website and in public press releases, including releases to the program funders and potential employers.

If you have any questions or would like to request reasonable accommodations, please contact AAPD at or at (202) 521-4316.

Applications for the 2018 Summer Internship Program are now closed.



Any undergraduate student, law student, graduate student, or recent graduate from a US college or university who self-identifies as an individual with any type of disability is invited to apply. You will not be required to disclose your specific disability; however, your application for this program will signify that you consider yourself a person with a disability. Individuals that are not US citizens are welcome to participate in this program if they 1) are a current student at or recent graduate of US college or university and 2) have the proper work authorization documents.

NOTE:  This is a program run specifically for students with disabilities by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), a national cross-disability organization.  Those selected for this program will be involved in various disability-focused activities and associated with AAPD and fellow interns with all types of disabilities throughout the program.


Program Requirements and Policies

  • Interns selected to participate in the AAPD Summer Internship Program will be placed in unpaid internships with Congressional offices, federal agencies, non-profits, or for-profit organizations to work full-time (35-40 hours per week).
  • Interns are expected to assist AAPD in securing their placements. This is a collaborative process where each intern may be asked to submit additional application materials and interview with a possible placement.
  • An orientation will be held in Washington, DC at the beginning of the program that all interns must attend.
  • Interns will receive a Summer Schedule of AAPD-sponsored activities and must attend all mandatory events.
  • Interns will receive a living stipend disbursed in three (3) installments over the summer.
  • Interns will live in dorm-style housing and will most likely share a room with another intern from the program.


Past internship placements include:

  • Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services
  • American Bar Association
  • Association of University Centers on Disabilities
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Federal Communications Commission
  • House Committee on Energy and Commerce
  • Institute for Educational Leadership
  • JBS International
  • National Archives and Records Administration
  • National Disability Rights Network
  • National Education Association
  • Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA)
  • Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
  • Representative F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
  • Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI)
  • Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD)
  • Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
  • Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)
  • Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT)
  • Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
  • Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA)
  • Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY)
  • Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)
  • Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
  • Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)
  • The Arc
  • US Agency for International Development
  • US Department of Labor
  • US Office of Personnel Management
  • Walmart


Selection Process

Completed applications must be submitted to AAPD no later than 5pm ET on Monday, November 6, 2017. Applications will be collected and reviewed by our Internship Review Team. Finalists will be contacted for video or telephone interviews. Interns will be selected for the program and notified by February 2018.

Applications for the 2018 Summer Internship Program are now closed.


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