WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2003 — In an effort to empower people with disabilities as they continue the struggle to obtain meaningful employment, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and Microsoft Corp. are proud to announce a unique summer internship program designed for college and university students with disabilities. This new Microsoft-AAPD Federal Internship Program is made possible through a $325,000 grant to AAPD from Microsoft and will be administered by AAPD. In its inaugural year, the program will provide 10 students interested in careers in information technology with an 11-week paid internship at a federal agency in Washington.
The goal of the program is to give college students with disabilities the opportunity to participate in and benefit from highly sought-after federal internships to which other students have long had access. The program will give participants real-world work experience, further enhance their employment opportunities, and allow them to hone their IT skills. In addition, it will enable them to learn firsthand how political and regulatory processes work, as well as see how they can make positive changes through personal advocacy. By harnessing the talent that exists among college students with disabilities, the Microsoft-AAPD Federal Internship Program aims to demonstrate to public and private employers that students with disabilities are solid prospects as members of the IT work force.
The 10 interns for summer 2003 will be selected through a highly competitive application process. They will be provided with generous stipends, accessible housing in Washington and, where necessary, assistance with accommodations at their work site. The deadline for application submissions is mid-March.
AAPD is the largest cross-disability membership organization in the country. Its mission is the political and economic empowerment of the more than 56 million people in the United States living with disabilities. AAPD is delighted to collaborate with Microsoft, which has long demonstrated its commitment to the disability community and to the empowerment of individuals in the workplace.
“In pursuit of our mission of economic empowerment, AAPD seeks to create opportunities for young people with disabilities to develop experience that will help them compete for the jobs which will be available when they graduate,”
said Andrew J. Imparato, president and CEO of AAPD.
“Thanks to Microsoft, we now have the ability to help college students learn valuable IT skills and help reinforce the important work being undertaken by federal agencies to make their information technology infrastructures fully accessible.”
“Microsoft strongly believes in supporting the development of tomorrow’s work force,”
said Bruce Brooks, director of Community Affairs at Microsoft.
“As part of this effort, our mission is to provide people, including those with disabilities, with opportunities to realize their full potential. Our long-standing relationship with AAPD and the creation of this unique internship program are exciting steps toward realizing this mission.”
“This administration recognizes that America cannot afford to leave anyone behind as we enter the 21st century,”
said Dr. W. Roy Grizzard, assistant secretary of labor, office of disability employment policy, U.S. Department of Labor.
“We must give every American the chance to reach their full potential in life, and particularly in the work force. This new internship program gives students with disabilities valuable exposure to available career IT opportunities in the federal government, while giving all participants the chance to learn firsthand that people with disabilities have truly incredible abilities — abilities that can be invaluable in today’s economy.”
“I would like to commend the American Association of People with Disabilities and Microsoft for their creative collaboration on the design of this new internship program,”
said Rep. Jim Langevin, the first quadriplegic elected to Congress.
“An internship of this caliber, with these objectives and which has been designed specifically for college students with disabilities, will reap substantial benefits not just for the interns, but for all program participants as well. Programs like this, aimed at providing opportunity and empowerment for disabled students, are the first step toward the long-term employment and success of people with disabilities.”
Microsoft seeks to empower people and communities in discovering a better future through technology. During the past five years, Microsoft has donated approximately $5.5 million in cash and software to disability organizations and initiatives. Microsoft is proud of the progress these organizations have made in the areas of technology and work-force training, job placement, career development, research and outreach to empower people with disabilities to realize their full potential by achieving success through employment. More information is available at http://www.microsoft.com/giving/ or http://microsoft.com/enable/ .
About the American Association of People With Disabilities
The American Association of People with Disabilities is a national membership organization dedicated to promoting the economic and political empowerment of all people living with disabilities in the United States. It was founded in 1995 by a group of cross-disability leaders to help unite the diverse community of people with disabilities, including their family, friends and supporters, and to be a national voice for change in implementing the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency. More information is available at http://www.aapd-dc.org/.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.
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