Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

The Eternal Internship

by Donna J. Jodhan

There is no doubt that many companies probably have the best of intensions in mind when they set up internship programs that are aimed at attracting disabled applicants. These programs are almost always laid out with the best of intensions; to give the disabled applicant an equal opportunity at job opportunities within the company. However, what almost always happens is that these programs do not seem to be designed with a completion date.

Over the years, I have had first hand experience with this situation and in addition, several clients have discussed this with me. It is one thing to offer internships to disabled applicants with the best of intensions. It gives the applicant an opportunity to see whether or not they want to work for the company in question and it also gives the company an opportunity to evaluate the applicant. So far, so good. Most of these internships are usually for a period of six months and this is also good. However, when a company starts to extend an internship, it begins to breathe uncertainty and mistrust in the minds of the applicants.

A well meaning internship should be designed with an end date in mind. It should also be structured to include the necessary equipment that will be needed by the applicant. It should also be well laid out so that both applicant and company are on the same page. It should never be made to believe that an internship would necessarily lead to full employment. Instead, it should be used as an evaluation period with full employment in mind if things work out.

Just my two cents worth for today.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all: http://www.donnajodhan.blogspot.com
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility: http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog/blog.html
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns: http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm

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