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Summer Internship Opportunities Needed for Program That Aims to Jumpstart the Careers of Top College Students With Disabilities


Kim Brussell

 Summer Internship Opportunities Needed for Program That Aims to Jumpstart the
Careers of Top College Students With Disabilities

Emerging Leaders, coordinated by the National Business & Disability Council at The Viscardi Center, is a highly competitive program that places top undergraduate and graduate college students with disabilities in fulfilling summer internships nationwide. Seeking to provide these young women and men with meaningful leadership development opportunities, the National Business & Disability Council (NBDC) is asking businesses of all types and sizes to offer summer internship positions to these students.

“Since NBDC began offering the Emerging Leaders program, year after year we have more qualified applicants than we have internship positions,” explained Laura M. Francis, Executive Director at the National Business & Disability Council at The Viscardi Center, a comprehensive resource for Fortune 1000 companies seeking to integrate people with disabilities into the workplace, marketplace and supply chain. “We hope businesses change their mindset and see this as a way to bring new talent to their workforce since these students from well recognized colleges and universities across the country represent a bright, diverse, and future talent pool. Further, we believe a strong workforce is an inclusive workforce.”

The future they are indeed. According to a new report from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, 11-15% of undergraduate students have a disability.

“Often intelligent, young men and women with disabilities are denied the opportunities for a strong start to their career that other college students enjoy, such as internship experiences,” shared John D. Kemp, President & CEO of The Viscardi Center.

“I am a proud person with a disability who is frequently asked to share what I feel people with disabilities bring to the workplace,” continued Kemp. “I am hopeful that one day there will be no need to ask this question because employers and employees alike will already know the answer, just as they do for other protected class members such as African-Americans, women, Hispanic Americans. The answer is simple – talent to do the jobs well. The Emerging Leaders program aims to show employers just that.”

 “The quality of the young people participating in the Emerging Leaders program is unsurpassed,” said Felipe Botero, Vice President, Technology & Operations, MetLife. “These talented young people have had an opportunity to network and develop their business skills, while the company has benefited from their significant contributions.”

The intern selection process is easy. Participating businesses simply provide specific education and skill requirements. Candidate resumes are then reviewed and interviews are scheduled with qualified applicants. This process ensures that qualified, self-motivated candidates are paired with appropriate businesses.

For more information, businesses may contact Laura M. Francis at 516.465.1519 or and view a brief overview of the Emerging Leaders program at

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 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. Learn more at


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