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The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) Recognizes Funders for its 2017 Summer Internship Program

by | Feb 9, 2017 | Press Release

For Immediate Release
February 9, 2017

Contact: Zach Baldwin
Phone: 202-521-4310

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is proud to recognize the following funders who have joined forces to support our 2017 Summer Internship Program:

  • Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation
  • AT&T
  • Arconic Foundation
  • Google
  • Aid Association for the Blind of the District of Columbia

“We are grateful to have this level of support from so many wonderful partners,” said Helena Berger, President and CEO of AAPD. “Thanks to their generous support, we are able to double the size of the intern class to support 16 students as part of the 2017 Summer Internship Program.”

AAPD’s Summer Internship Program provides the opportunity for students with disabilities to gain hands-on professional experience to help advance their career goals. Through the Summer Internship Program, AAPD seeks to give a class of students with disabilities the skills, resources, and networks they need in order to not only become employed, but to be employed in meaningful and high-level positions. Our Summer Internship Program engages students and recent graduates with disabilities from all across the United States. Because we cover the costs of travel and housing, in addition to providing a living stipend, we are able to recruit a diverse class of interns that may not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in a program like ours. For many of these young people, participating in AAPD’s Summer Internship Program is their first exposure to the broader disability community, which empowers them to be self-advocates and sets them on a path to employment.

In addition to placing each intern on Capitol Hill, in government agencies, national nonprofit organizations, or the private sector, AAPD also matches each intern with a mentor connected to the disability community. The program begins with a week of orientation to help the interns get acclimated to living in Washington, DC as well as to establish a base understanding of the history of the disability rights movement and current policy issues impacting people with disabilities. The AAPD Summer Internship Program is unique and effective because we offer a comprehensive experience that goes beyond the normal 9-5 intern work week. Outside of the internship hours, AAPD educates our interns on the history of the disability rights movement and the struggles our community still faces today. The interns also have numerous opportunities to participate in social and professional networking events.


Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation

Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation is the corporate foundation of the Mitsubishi Electric group companies in the United States. MEAF works to make Changes for the Better in society by investing in innovative strategies to empower youth with disabilities to lead productive lives.

Support from Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation comes in the form of a three-year grant that funds AAPD to support the growth if the program in Washington, DC and launch an expansion of AAPD’s Summer Internship Program by taking the successful DC model and applying it to a state capital (specific location to be determined).

The state capital program pilot is expected to launch in the summer of 2018. Internship placements as part of the state capital Summer Internship Program will focus primarily on state legislators and state agencies, but will also be open to considering state nonprofit organizations or for-profit companies. Many of the most important decisions concerning the lives of people with disabilities happen on a state level. By expanding the Summer Internship Program into state capitals, AAPD can serve more students with disabilities while connecting with state lawmakers.

“As one of the founding funders of the AAPD Summer Internship Program, the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation is proud to support this unique program designed to empower young people with disabilities through internships in Washington, DC as well as state capitals to provide additional opportunities for more young people with disabilities,” says Kevin R. Webb, senior director of the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation.



AT&T is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T’s signature philanthropic initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring. Through Aspire, AT&T has passed the $250 million mark on our plan to invest $350 million in education from 2008-2017.

“Based on a deep history of collaboration with the disability community, as well as our Foundation’s focus on promoting economic achievement and addressing community needs, the AAPD Summer internship program is a perfect fit for AT&T. We are thrilled to support a program that introduces young people with disabilities to the workplace, creating opportunities for employers to see the unique skills and perspectives that people with disabilities provide to a team or workplace environment.” – Susan Diegelman, Director Public Affairs, AT&T


Arconic Foundation

As the philanthropic arm of Arconic – which works in close partnership with customers to solve complex engineering challenges to transform the way we fly, drive, build and power – Arconic Foundation supports programs that help prepare the 21st century workforce. Through collaboration with our nonprofit partners, our initiatives make quality education opportunities available to students; support engineering and technical skills training through community colleges, vocational technical schools and universities around the world; and help to create access for underrepresented individuals.

“Arconic Foundation is proud to be partnering with AAPD on the 2017 Summer Internship Program, which is working diligently to develop the next generation of leaders with disabilities and offers host employers access to a talented, diverse workforce,” said Suzanne van de Raadt, Vice President, Communications and Program Development. “At Arconic and Arconic Foundation, we value our people as much for who they are as for what they do. Diversity is a key sustainable advantage that drives innovation and helps advance industries.”



Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.  Our giving begins in the places where users live and work. Google supports nonprofits in their efforts to tackle society’s greatest challenges and make our communities stronger.


Aid Association for the Blind of the District of Columbia

The Aid Association for the Blind is a foundation whose grants support the work of charitable, educational and medical organizations relating to blindness and visual impairment. The Aid Association’s mission is to improve the lives and future prospects of the blind/low vision community, focusing on the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

“We believe that internships in Washington, DC for students with disabilities will surely open doors. Internships are pathways to learning important social and workplace skills leading to higher educational pursuits and careers, and will help students achieve their goals and dreams,” said Betsy Paull, President of the Aid Association for the Blind of the District of Columbia. “The Aid Association for the Blind of the District of Columbia is pleased to participate in financially supporting AAPD’s Summer Internship Program and welcoming young people to our stimulating Nation’s Capital.”


In the coming months AAPD will release more information about the 2017 Summer Internship Class as well as their placements.



The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities. To learn more, visit: www.aapd.com.