Internship programs can benefit people with disabilities. With an internship, your child can:
My son just completed a summer internship. It was part of a continuing education program he attends at a local college. He was placed in an office at one of our county agencies. The staff were welcoming, patient and supportive. His tasks included data entry, sorting folders and assisting staff members. He enjoyed going to work every day. It was a great first-time office experience for him.
I asked my son what he liked most about the internship. He answered, “I worked with some really nice people.”
He also liked getting a paycheck!
My son was fortunate to have a paid internship. He worked about 20 hours each week and was paid $11.50 per hour. He loves earning his own money. It makes him feel good about himself. I watched him grow while working at his job, and I could not be prouder of him. I would also encourage him to take an unpaid internship if it came along. Both paid and unpaid internships can provide valuable experience.
Workplace diversity goes beyond gender, ethnicity, and age. Internships give potential employers a chance to see what excellent employees people with disabilities can be. With the right supports, people with disabilities can fit into any workplace. (Many employers don’t realize that most accommodations cost less than $500.)
Our family is so pleased that the agency my son worked for saw the benefits of having him in their office.
Everyone has gifts. People with disabilities are no exception. Just like everyone else, they want to contribute to society. They have hopes, dreams and goals. They can be loyal and dependable. They can attend to detail and work hard.
My son is all these things—and more.
Employers are starting to get this, but we have a long way to go. I hope that people with disabilities will become common in the workplace. Internships can be an important move in that direction.
For more about employment, see Careers for People with Disabilities on this website.