connect ability: Getting Experience

Getting Experience

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Most employers like to hire people who've already had some work experience. Employers often think that if you have experience, they won't have to spend as much time training you. But if you haven't worked before, how can you get the experience employers want? Here are some suggestions.



Volunteering can be a great way to get experience. You could help out in a food pantry, organize a neighborhood cleanup, work with a blood drive, or volunteer to work on a political campaign. There are lots of possibilities and lots of ways to get some experience under your belt. If, for example, you volunteer three afternoons a week, or even just a day or two for several different organizations, it will help you learn about working with others, arriving on time, following through on projects, and many other skills. Volunteering is also a good way to find out if you might need additional help (like assistive technology or personal assistance). If you're interested in volunteering, talk with your family and friends. Or for more information about organizations in your neighborhood, here's a website you might find helpful:

After-School and Summer Employment

If you're still in high school, there are other ways to get some work experience before you enter the workforce full-time. Mowing lawns, babysitting, working at a local restaurant or retail store may not be your "dream job," but having an after-school or summer job is a great first step. Many of the things you learn on these jobs will be the same skills employers are looking for as you move toward your career. Here are a couple of websites that can help you learn more about after-school and summer employment:

Why Do an Internship?

There are lots of good reasons for doing an internship or getting a summer job.

1. Internships help you look at different types of work to see what you like.

2. They help you learn new skills.

3. They help you develop basic talents that every employer needs, like customer service, workplace etiquette and even how to get along with your boss!

4. You can build confidence and self-esteem.

5. And you even have good experience to put on a rsum.

6. It can give employers an opportunity to get to know you. If they like you, an employer may offer you a job after graduation or at least give you a good reference when you apply for other jobs.

7. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, internships are employers' #1 method of recruiting new hires.

It's never too early to start. The job market has been tight for the last few years, so the more you have to show an employer, the better chance you will have in the future. So put on your good shoes and your best attitude and get started right away.

There are lots of places to begin looking for internships and summer jobs. The next sections will show you a number of places to look.

Tips for Starting Your Search

This site at is full of good information about looking for an internship including: where to start, things to consider, and the interview. This specific article is located at but it is really for everybody!

Internship sites looking for students who have disabilities

Here are some internship sites that are actively recruiting students who have disabilities.

The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars (TWC):This prestigious educational nonprofit organization, entering its 30th year, offers an academic program combined with internships in Washington, DC.

They offer a fully inclusive program, including accessible housing. To learn more about the program, visit and click on the link for Prospective Students.

AAPD Administered Summer Internships for College Students with Disabilities:AAPD administers two prestigious internships. One is funded by the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation and places students in congressional offices in Washington, DC.

A second, funded by Microsoft, is for students majoring in information technology and accepted candidates will work in various agencies in the executive branch of the federal government. For details visit AAPD's web site at and click on the Internship/Fellowship link.

Emerging Leaders Internships:This program, launched and funded by the international consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton, is administered by the National Business & Disability Council and provides internships for college students with disabilities. These internships are located in several geographic locations and with a wide range of companies. For details, visit their web site at

Career Connections: Career Connections is a web site created by Connecticut students in Bridgeport for Connecticut students. Career Connections is all about helping us make better choices in our lives! Career Connections is a tool we can use to make informed decisions about school, work, and life. Check out the internship section at{7A83B160-2CCF-4C82-96DC-4D65E030F8FF}&DE=

Entry Point!: This is a program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) offering outstanding internship opportunities for students with disabilities in science, engineering, mathematics, computer science, and some fields of business. Look for it at

Internship Sites Open to All Students: There are dozens of sites offering information about internships. Here are a few you might find helpful.

After College: This site lists internships and summer jobs by the type of career area. Then you can sort the listings for the area where you live.

Although the title is "After College" the internships and summer jobs are open for people who are still in school. This great resource is available at

Rising Star Internships: Internship opportunities in the United States and around the world are listed on this site.

You can search for an internship by career category or post a rsum for an employer who is looking for an intern. See what is interesting at

Simply Hired: This is another web site that lists internships nationwide, BUT you can sort by state. There is even a link for diversity internships. You can search this site at

VAULT Internship Database: The VAULT is a great resource for usable information about work. From the internship homepage, be sure to click on the Internship Listings link for a searchable database of available internship sites.

cbCampus: cbCampus is a part of and has a searchable national database of internships. You can search internships by category, city, state or "hot" internships.

Studica Internships: Studica internships promotes valuable workplace experiences to take place at the employer's site OR online with in a classroom or from the comfort of the student's dorm or home.

Known as Virtual Internships, the latter removes barriers and provides opportunities for all students, including those too distant to an employer, as well as students who have disabilities.

Content Last Modified on 6/25/2013 8:48:25 AM