October 30, 2013
Businesses all across the United States are looking to promote inclusion and diversify their workforce as they recognize it makes good business sense. In an effort to fill this need, the Emerging Leaders Summer Internship Program for College Students with Disabilities, funded by The UPS Foundation and coordinated by the National Business & Disability Council (NBDC) at The Viscardi Center, places top undergraduate and graduate college students with disabilities in fulfilling summer internships with companies nationwide. NBDC works with the organizations to find interns with disabilities who are qualified for the positions that they need to fulfill.
“This is an excellent opportunity for businesses to showcase diversity in the workplace,” said Laura M. Francis, Executive Director at the National Business & Disability Council at The Viscardi Center. “We provide companies access to our pool of highly qualified, motivated interns with proven track records of scholastic achievement, leadership abilities, and a demonstrated desire to achieve and excel.”
Speaking on behalf of MetLife and its experience with the Emerging Leaders Internship Program, Felipe Botero, Vice President of Technology & Operations said, “The quality of the young people participating in the Emerging Leaders program is unsurpassed. Their character and fortitude are truly inspirational. These talented young people have had an opportunity to network and develop their business skills, while the company has benefited from their significant contributions.”
Francis also noted that the internship program is an opportunity for companies to recruit employees for a variety of positions within their organizations and can also assist them with meeting the new Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) regulations for federal contractors and subcontractors requiring that 7% of their workforce be made up of employees with disabilities.
Several companies that have participated in the Emerging Leaders program including: Bank of America, CIT Transportation, Booz Allen Hamilton, MetLife, New York Life Insurance Company, and Prudential have been pleased with the quality of work performed during the internships, and in some cases, hired graduates at the completion of the program.
NBDC’s services are offered through tiered membership levels or on a consultant basis and assist businesses in developing strategies to implement, grow, measure and create solid disability programs. These include talent acquisition, advancement and retention strategies; customized training seminars and workshops; facility and IT accessibility surveys; and an information hotline for disability-related employment issues. Its initiatives to assist employers with expanding their recruiting of people with disabilities include Job Postings Services that aid in attracting qualified people with disabilities to their companies, the NBDC National Resume Database® that provides access to resume listings 24/7 and the Emerging Leaders summer internship program for college students with disabilities.
Founded by Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr., who served as disability advisor to eight U.S. presidents and became one of the world’s leading advocates, The Viscardi Center provides Pre-K through High School education, school-to-work transition services, vocational training, career counseling and placement, assistive technology and workforce diversification assistance to children, adolescents, and adults with disabilities and businesses. A global leader, it employs more than 300 professionals, including experts in education, human resources and technology.