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Special Challenges: Students with disabilities find co-op and internship opportunities

Article Summary:

The transition from college to the working world can be challenging for anyone. "[Students with disabilities] need extra preparation for the work world. Thats why internships and co-ops are critical", says Virginia Stern, Director of the Project on Science, Technology and Disability and Entry Point! for the Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

This article looks at how several organizations have successfully employed individuals with disabilities in summer internship and co-op positions. The organizations giving examples in this article include AAAS, NASA, Microsoft, the Rochester Institute of Technology, Xerox, Procter and Gamble, Lockheed Martin, H&R Block, JP Morgan Chase, Texas Instrument, IBM, as well as many governmental agencies and departments. The focus is on recruiting qualified individuals that may happen to have a disability.

Many of the organizations in this article recognize that the majority of the individuals they hire for internships are offered full-time positions. They also agree that it is important to have diversity within their organizations. Mylene Padolina, senior diversity consultant with Microsoft, states that "a diverse workplace helps us attract and keep the most qualified employees and better serve a wide range of customers, including those with disabilities" (Furlong, 2003).

Read the full article for more on how these organizations have committed to provide accommodations and the successful experiences they have had in hiring individuals with disabilities.


Furlong. L. (2003) Special Challenges: Students with disabilities find co-op and internship opportunities. Focus on Diversity. Retrieved on March 12, 2004 from