By Steven Krolak
(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)–For the first time, IU Southeast will host an internship event for people with physical disabilities, including students who are blind or visually impaired, students who are deaf or hard of hearing, and students who use wheelchairs.
All internships are paid and include living arrangements. Housing and transportation assistance is provided as needed.
The event takes place on Wednesday, January 22, from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in Hoosier Room West.
It represents the first collaboration between IU Southeast and the Gregory S. Fehribach Center at the Eskenazi Health Foundation in Indianapolis, where students are placed in full-time, paid internships in positions that correlate with their academic majors.
“Eskenazi Health has been at the forefront of changing the expectations and outcomes for this population,” said Donna Reed, director of the Career Development Center at IU Southeast. “As we all know, experiential components can be the difference in a student graduating and being under employed or having the confidence and work experience to truly be engaged at a high level in the workforce.”
According to the Fehribach Center website, all interns are compensated at a fair and competitive hourly wage and each intern works full-time (40 hours/week) for eight weeks during the internship session. Sessions are offered in the spring, summer, and fall. Assistive technology (including phone headsets, accessible desks, and software packages) is provided to the interns, through this program, and some interns, who require housing, are provided ADA-compliant housing adjacent to the Eskenazi Health campus.
“We know that the employment rate of students with disabilities with colleges degrees is significantly–and sadly–much lower than that of their non-disabled peers,” said Matt Springer, coordinator of disability services at IU Southeast. “By taking advantage of this paid internship, they can position themselves better after graduation.”
To this point, 78 students have completed a total of 125 internships, with 41 students from 19 colleges and universities interning this summer.
While Eskenazi Health has itself hosted the great majority of these interns, other employers such as Eli Lilly, BraunAbility, Old National Bank, the State of Indiana, and Lumina Foundation have hosted interns facilitated through the program, with more employers set to join next year.
Internships are available for students who just finished their freshman year of college right on up to those who have graduated within the last calendar year. Applications for a summer internship are due by January 31. To apply, students simply need to email Fehribach Center director Larry Markle (firstname.lastname@example.org) or manager Carlos Taylor (email@example.com) and include a resume, cover letter, and three letters of reference. The dates for the program for 2020 are June 8-July 31.
Students who need access accommodations for this event are invited to contact the Office of Disability Services at 812-941-2243, or email the Coordinator, Matt Springer, at firstname.lastname@example.org early so that their needs may be met.