Internships are an effective strategy for ensuring disability diversity in the workplace.
Many businesses find internships to be an effective personnel strategy because they offer a way to both fill anticipated short-term staffing needs and evaluate potential staff for permanent positions in the future—especially those who may be new to the workforce.
What many employers may not realize, however, is that internships can also be an effective strategy for achieving disability diversity. In fact, research shows that employers who offer internships for people with disabilities are 4.5 times more likely to hire a person with a disability than those who do not. Thus, for federal contractors and subcontractors, hiring interns with disabilities can be an effective strategy for advancing goals under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act.
To ensure their internship programs are inclusive, employers may want to read Inclusive Internship Programs: A How-To Guide for Employers (PDF). To recruit interns with disabilities, they can take advantage of the Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities. Additional internship programs for students with disabilities include the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Entry Point! Internship Program and Project SEARCH.
For more information about working with interns with disabilities, read “Maximizing the Internship Experience for Interns with Disabilities” and “Tips for Mentoring Student Interns with Disabilities.“