For Immediate Release
February 23, 2018
Contact: Zach Baldwin
WASHINGTON, DC – The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is proud to recognize the following supporters who have joined forces to make our 2018 Summer Internship Program possible:
- Aid Association for the Blind of the District of Columbia
- Arconic Foundation
- Centene Corporation
- The Coca-Cola Foundation
- Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation
“We are grateful to have this level of support from so many committed partners,” said Helena Berger, President and CEO of AAPD. “Thanks to their generous support, we have more than tripled the size of the program since 2015 to welcome 27 students as part of our 2018 Summer Internship Program class.”
AAPD’s Summer Internship Program provides the opportunity for students with disabilities to gain hands-on professional experience that will 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 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 AAPD Summer Internship Program is unique and effective because we offer a comprehensive experience that goes beyond the normal 9-to-5 intern work week. Outside of internship hours, and an intensive week-long orientation, AAPD educates our interns on the history of the disability rights movement and the challenges our community still faces. The interns also have numerous opportunities to participate in social and professional networking events.
There are several new and exciting additions to the 2018 Summer Internship Program that are described below. None of these opportunities would be possible without the generous contributions from our 2018 program funders.
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 plans to replicate this model in additional states over the coming years.
Federal IT Internship Program
AAPD is pleased to announce support from Microsoft to offer a Federal IT Internship Program as part of our 2018 Summer Internship Program. Two IT interns will be specifically placed in IT departments of federal agencies. We are excited to once again partner with Microsoft to offer students with disabilities access to high-level IT internships.
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.
Attendance at the NCIL Conference
The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) hosts its annual conference in Washington, DC each July. This conference brings together thousands of advocates from across the country and offers the latest training and information from the fields of disability rights and independent living. Thanks to a contribution from Walmart, AAPD will provide conference registration for each of the 2018 summer interns so they can participate in this learning opportunity and network with other disability rights advocates.
Significant Program Growth
The growth of the 2018 Summer Internship Program is largely due to a generous grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation to provide an internship opportunity to an additional 10 students. This grant has allowed AAPD to significantly expand the program’s impact on, and provide hands-on professional experience for, students with disabilities in today’s highly competitive job market.
The extraordinary growth of the Summer Internship Program would not be possible without the organizations who have offered continuous support over the last several years. AAPD is grateful to the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, AT&T, Arconic Foundation, Google, and the Aid Association for the Blind of the District of Columbia for their continued and committed support of students with disabilities.
In the coming months, AAPD will release more information about the 2018 Summer Internship Program class and their internship 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. As a national cross-disability organization, AAPD advocates for full recognition of the rights of 57 million Americans with disabilities. To learn more, visit www.aapd.com.