Monday, January 21, 2008

Paid summer internships specifically for students with disabilities

Internships for college students, either undergraduate or graduate, are great exposures to career opportunities and valuable, professional learning venues. While many of these are unpaid, offering the experience as the most valuable asset to be gained, there are some that are paid. As one might imagine, there is usually a fierce competition for internships, especially the coveted paid ones.

I suppose the question to then be asked is, "Where does this leave students with disabilities in the competition?"

Some might argue that this jockeying for internship opportunities is a great introduction to the competitiveness that exists in the real-life workplace and that the students with disabilities need to get a taste of it to get themselves ready for life after college.

Okay, so for an answer to that question, how about we flip that coin. How about a paid internship specifically designed for students with disabilities?

Yes, such opportunities do exist and these don’t mean doing meaningless busy work at some sheltered environment set up just for those “poor, handicapped students.” There are actually some great opportunities that are paid summer internships coordinated through
Entry Point,
A program of the
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

From the Entry Point web site:
“The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has developed unique partnerships with IBM, NASA, Merck, NOAA, Google, Lockheed Martin, CVS, NAVAIR and university science laboratories to meet their human resources needs. Working with its partners, AAAS identifies and screens undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities who are pursuing degrees in science, engineering, mathematics, computer science, and some fields of business, and places them in paid summer internships.”

Granted, these internships are going to only be interested in specific degree fields related to the needs of the involved organizations and businesses, but the opportunities do exist.

Please share this information with any of your students who may qualify and be interested in these opportunities.

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