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. For 20 years, we have placed 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. The AAPD Summer Internship Program advances participants’ career opportunities, deepens their leadership skills, and meaningfully connects them to the broader disability community.
During the summer, each intern is matched with a mentor who provides them with career guidance. AAPD provides interns with a living stipend, a technology and internet stipend for remote interns, transportation to and from Washington, DC, and fully accessible housing. Due to minimizing barriers to participation, we are able to recruit a diverse cohort of interns. As a result, we connect our host employers to talented emerging leaders with disabilities.
For Summer 2023, AAPD will offer interns the option to participate in-person in Washington, DC or fully remote. 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 afternoon. 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.
Applications for the 2023 Summer Internship program are now closed.
Please check back in September of 2023 for the Summer 2024 application.
Internship Application Process and FAQs
- Identify as a person with a disability*
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Identify with at least one of the following for Summer 2023:
- 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 (ie graduation date no earlier than 2018).
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.
You can view the entire Summer 2023 application in this Google document.
Each applicant is required to submit:
- Applicant information
- Internship placement preference*
- Two (2) references
- 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.
- STEM 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.
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 will receive a summer schedule of AAPD-sponsored activities and must attend all mandatory events, including the Disability Advocacy Certificate Program on Fridays.
- 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).
- If virtual, interns will receive a stipend for technology needs.
- For information about COVID-19 precautions, see our 2022 COVID protocols. These are subject to change for Summer 2023 based on current public health guidance.
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: For Summer 2022, AAPD interns received a stipend equating to $16.10 for 32 hours over 10 weeks. This stipend covered living, internet (if remote), and meal expenses for the interns for their summer.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 2021 Summer Internship Program Annual Report
- 2020 Disability Advocacy Certificate Program Annual Report
- 2019 Summer Internship Program Annual Report
2022 Summer Interns
AAPD has previously placed interns in a variety of organizations. To learn more about past and potential future placement sites, please visit our AAPD Placement Site Overview.
Support for the 2022 Summer Internship Program was provided by:
- Aid Association for the Blind, District of Columbia
- Arconic Foundation
- The Coca-Cola Foundation
- United Airlines
Thank you so much to our generous sponsors for supporting these talented up-and-coming professionals.