Volunteering and Internship Experiences
If you’re looking to gain valuable experience in a particular field or occupation, think about volunteering or taking part in an internship.
When you volunteer, you have the opportunity to connect with your community while developing skills, networking with new contacts, and building your resume.
There are many possibilities when it comes to volunteering. You might donate your time by serving lunch at a homeless shelter or participating in a beautification day at your local park, or you may choose to get involved for an extended period of time with an organization or community service program such as AmeriCorps.
Websites such as Volunteer Match and the Corporation for National and Community Service can help you find volunteer opportunities in your area. In particular, CNCS has taken great strides to help people with disabilities find community service opportunities. In addition, The National Service Inclusion Project provides technical assistance to service programs across on the country.
Internships are work experiences that help you get valuable on-the-job training. Typically, internships are for set periods of time and are associated with an academic program at the high school or college level. Internships may be paid or unpaid, depending on the organization and academic program requirements.
An internship is an excellent way to get real, hands-on experience. Contact your state disability agency to learn if there is a program in your area that offers time-limited career exploration programs.
Working towards your goals
When considering volunteer or internship opportunities, be certain you are working towards your personal or professional goals. Volunteer work should occur in non-profit or government settings and should have specific time limits.
It is also important to know that the Department of Labor limits an individual’s ability to perform unpaid work in for profit settings. If you are unsure whether an opportunity you are considering meets this requirement, consult an employment service provider or vocational rehabilitation professional.