AAPD Summer Internship Program

About the AAPD Summer Internship Program

AAPD is a national cross-disability civil rights organization that works to increase the political and economic power of people with disabilities. In 2002, AAPD launched the Summer Internship Program to develop the next generation of leaders with disabilities. We place college students, graduate students, law students, and recent graduates with all types of disabilities in paid summer internships with Congressional offices, federal agencies, nonprofit and for-profit organizations within the Washington, DC area. During the summer, each intern is matched with a mentor who provides them with career guidance. AAPD provides interns with a living stipend, transportation to and from Washington, DC, and fully accessible housing. We recruit a diverse cohort of interns. As a result, we connect our host employers to talented emerging leaders with disabilities.

For Summer 2022, AAPD will provide both in-person internships in Washington, DC as well as fully remote internships from across the country options based on the intern’s preference. At the beginning of summer, interns participate in a 1-week orientation session to acclimate to AAPD and Washington, DC, meet their peers, and learn about the disability rights movement. Throughout the summer, interns are also required to participate in the Disability Advocacy Certificate Program, where interns learn about key issues in the disability community and develop skills to advocate on the local, state, and national level. Through conversations with issue experts, participants will have the opportunity to learn and apply advocacy skills, focusing primarily on the use of storytelling. Interns will be expected to participate in the classes every Friday for approximately 3 hours. The Certificate Program is currently only available to participating interns. Lastly, interns receive opportunities to attend events and network on Capitol Hill, conferences, community events, briefings, and more.

Important Notes: 

  • If the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a concern for the summer of 2022, AAPD will once again host the entire Summer Internship Program virtually, including orientation, internship, mentoring, professional development opportunities, and the Disability Advocacy Certificate Program.
  • AAPD will offer more in-person slots than remote slots.

The Applications for the 2022 Summer Internship Program are closed. Check back in September 2022 for applications for Summer 2023.

Application Process


Minimal Qualifications:

  • Identify as a person with a disability*
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Identify with at least one of the following for Summer 2022:
    • Currently enrolled as a rising sophomore/junior/senior undergraduate student, law student, graduate student, or post-secondary education program, or
    • Currently enrolled in a transition or skills-focused program aged over 18, or
    • A recent graduate**
  • You are not required to be a U.S. citizen, but must be:
    • Currently enrolled or recently graduated from a U.S. college, university, or program and
    • Have the required work authorization documents

*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.

**Recent graduate for the AAPD Summer Internship is defined as anyone who has graduated from an educational setting (e.g. community college, university, post-secondary education transition program, etc) or skills-focused program (e.g. specialized training, apprenticeship, etc) within the last five years.

AAPD is committed to cultivating a diverse class of interns every summer. We select interns who demonstrate their passion and vision of contributing to an inclusive workforce. In order to create gainful employment opportunities for people with disabilities, we recognize the importance of selecting a class of interns that reflect the diversity of our community. We strongly encourage individuals from historically excluded groups to apply.

Application Material

Applicant information

Internship placement preference*



Two (2) references
a. At least one of which is a professional reference

* AAPD’s Internship placements fall into the following categories:

  • Congressional offices: Current Representative or Senator’s office in U.S. Congress
  • Federal agency: Government organizations that direct policy, programs, and resources at the national level. 
  • Nonprofit: Organizations that typically use its funds for the community to further a social cause or advocate for a shared point of view rather than using the funds internally.
  • For-profit: We place interns with private sector companies that have an interest in disability inclusion. 
  • Federal IT internship: Placed in federal agencies with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics

You can take a look at AAPD’s Placement Partner Overview to learn more about past placement sites, the external application process, eligibility, required paperwork, and general activities.

You can view the entire application in this Google document. It is recommended that you complete the essay questions in a separate word processing program and then copy and paste them into the online form to prevent loss of information while applying. We will not consider any materials in excess of the stated requirements. Incomplete or late submissions will not be considered. If you have issues accessing the online portal, you must email all of your materials to AAPD at internships@aapd.com before 5:00 PM ET / 2:00 PM PT on Wednesday, October 20, 2021. 

Applicants who are chosen for the AAPD 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, potential employers, and internship placement staff. If you have any questions or would like to request reasonable accommodations, please contact AAPD at internships@aapd.com.


Applications for the 2022 Summer Internship Program closed on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 at 5:00pm ET (2:00pm PT). Applications are reviewed by our Internship Review Team, which includes AAPD staff, Board Members, and partners.

All applicants will be notified if they are chosen for an interview by the end of December 2021. Final decisions regarding interviews and selections will be made by January 2022.

Program Requirements and Policies

  • Interns selected to participate in the AAPD Summer Internship program will be placed in paid internships with Congressional offices, federal agencies, nonprofits, or for-profit organizations to work full-time four days a week.
  • Interns must communicate reliably and utilize the various technology platforms (e.g. Google suite, Zoom, Facebook, email) once accepting their AAPD internship, leading up to their internship, and throughout the summer.
  • While AAPD has the final discretion of all placement sites, the internship placement process is collaborative where each intern may be asked to submit additional application materials and interview with a possible placement.
  • An orientation will be held at the beginning of the program. All interns are required to attend.
  • All interns must adhere to the Code of Conduct and if in-person, roommate and housing agreements.
  • Interns will receive a summer schedule of AAPD-sponsored activities and must attend all mandatory events, including the Disability Advocacy Certificate Program.
  • Interns will receive a living stipend disbursed in three (3) installments over the summer. 
  • If in-person, interns will live in a dorm-style housing and will most likely share a room with another intern from the program (interns will have an opportunity to request specific housing accommodations).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How can I learn more about potential internships?
A: Please review the AAPD Placement Site Overview for more information.

Q: Can I choose my placement site?
A: AAPD will strive to place all interns with a placement site that matches their career goals and preferences, but AAPD has the final decision on all placement sites.

Q:  What if I want to be placed in a specific Congressional office or only in Congressional offices of a  specific political party?
A: Since AAPD is a nonpartisan organization with many relationships with Congressional offices, we cannot guarantee a specific Congress person and/or placement with a member of a specific party. AAPD places interns in both Republican and Democratic offices.

Q: How much is the stipend?
A: In 2021, AAPD provided a stipend of $4,820 over three installments. This stipend covered living, internet, and meal expenses for the interns for their summer while they completed an entirely virtual program. The total stipend equated to $15/hour for 32 hours a week over 10 weeks. In 2022, the stipend will be at least $4,820.

Q: What happens if the pandemic concerns continue next summer?
A: AAPD prioritizes the health and safety of everyone connected to the internship program. If the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create concern, AAPD will host the entire Summer Internship Program remotely. We will continue with orientation, internships, mentoring, professional development opportunities, conferences, and the Disability Advocacy Certificate Program online. All participants will still receive the full stipend.

Q: I have questions about the Disability Advocacy Certificate Program.
A: Please visit our Certificate Program page to learn more.

If you still have questions, please email internships@aapd.com.

Annual Reports

Past Placement Sites

AAPD has previously placed interns in a variety of organizations, which includes but not limited to:

  • American Airlines
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Bar Association
  • American Council of the Blind
  • Anthem, Inc.
  • Association of People Supporting Employment First
  • Association of University Centers on Disabilities
  • Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network
  • Centene Corporation
  • Center for American Progress
  • Disability:IN
  • Disability EmpowHer Network
  • Families USA
  • House Committee on Energy and Commerce
  • Information Technology Industry Council
  • Institute for Educational Leadership
  • JBS International
  • National Archives and Records Administration
  • National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities
  • National Center for Learning Disabilities
  • National Council on Disability
  • National Disability Rights Network
  • Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
  • Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
  • 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 Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
  • Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY)
  • Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)
  • Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
  • Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
  • The Arc
  • The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
  • The Paul K. Longmore Institute
  • United Spinal Association
  • US Access Board
  • U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • U.S. Department of Energy
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy
  • U.S. International Council on Disabilities
  • Walmart
  • World Institute on Disability

Support for the 2021 Summer Internship Program is provided by:

  • Aid Association for the Blind of District of Columbia
  • Arconic Foundation
  • AT&T
  • Microsoft
  • Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • The Coca-Cola Foundation

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