PRIDE’S INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
Beginning a new career or re-entering the workforce is difficult for anyone. Individuals with disabilities, including veterans, often have an even harder time finding employment – and not for a lack of desire or willingness to work.
People with disabilities face unemployment at a rate four times greater than the general population. Veterans with disabilities often face a wide range of challenges, including translating military service skills into the civilian workplace.
PRIDE Industries’ Employment Services Internship Program provides a path for people with disabilities, including veterans to get their foot in the door or a fresh start in a new career. As a nonprofit social enterprise, PRIDE is nationally recognized for its expertise in empowering people to attain meaningful employment and increased independence despite the challenges they face. PRIDE serves individuals with a range of disabilities, including physical disabilities, sensory impairments, developmental and intellectual disabilities, and mental illness.
PRIDE’s internship program offers up to 250 hours of paid work experience within PRIDE or with a community employer. Through the internship, individuals get hands-on experience and gain soft skills while working in a safe and supportive environment. For people with little to no work experience, it provides a good resume builder.
In 2014, PRIDE provided 50 paid internship totaling more than 6,000 hours. The internship program is funded by generous donations made to PRIDE Industries Foundation. Many interns have achieved full-time employment. Following are a few stories of interns who successfully made the transition from intern to full-time employee.
Sean served in the Marine Corps from 2012 – 2014 as an Infantry Assaultman. While serving, Sean took friendly fire from a rocket launcher. “I now suffer from PTSD, partial hearing loss, two herniated discs in my lower back and a piece of metal in my knee,” says Sean.
When he returned home and healed, Sean started looking for employment. For seven months, Sean searched for opportunities. Despite his sacrifice for our country, Sean found it impossible to get a foot in the door to begin a new career.
His luck changed when he met with Frank Goehringer, PRIDE’s Veterans Liaison and Chris Chau, Referral Specialist. “They showed me all the opportunities that PRIDE had to offer with their internship program, and told me about their mission of hiring veterans and people with disabilities,” says Sean.
In September 2014, Sean began his paid internship with PRIDE’s manufacturing department. By December 2014, Sean was hired as a full-time production trainer at PRIDE Industries.
Disability can affect anyone at any time through illness or injury. In 2011, Barbara was injured on the job. Her employer refused to make accommodations for her disability and let her go.
Determined to find a new career, Barbara reached out to the Department of Rehabilitation. While attending a job club session, Barbara connected with Debbie Tomlinson, a job developer at PRIDE Industries.
Debbie and Barbara worked on improving her resume, cover letter and practiced interviewing skills while helping with the job search. Barbara’s enthusiasm for helping others was hard to miss; Debbie knew she would be a great fit at PRIDE. Debbie arranged an interview for a paid clerical internship.
In July 2014, Barbara began working at PRIDE as an intern. A few months later, she was hired as a permanent employee. As a Clerical Assistant, Barbara provides support to PRIDE’s Integrated Facilities Services business operations department.
In 2013, Joshua graduated from college with a degree in computer information systems. Many college graduates have a difficult time finding that first job. Josh’s efforts were further complicated by the fact that he is Autistic.
Eager to find opportunity, Josh connected with the local Department of Rehabilitation and they referred him to PRIDE Industries. Soon after, Josh began working with PRIDE’s Employment Services. A job developer, and coach assisted Josh with interview training and job skills development.
After a few months of searching, Josh landed a paid internship with PRIDE’s IT department. “It was awesome!” says Josh. He became part of PRIDE’s technical support center.
Hard work and dedication paid off; recently Joshua became a permanent full-time PRIDE Industries employee in the IT department.
For more about Joshua’s Journey to PRIDE, click here.
HOW TO GET REFERRED
Individuals seeking services are encouraged to visit PRIDE’s website at prideindustries.com/people/how-to-get-referred. To assist parents, caregivers and individuals seeking supports and services, PRIDE has a dedicated referral specialist with vast knowledge of social services, our partners and of course, PRIDE.
Our specialist also coordinates PRIDE’s internship program referrals. So far this year, she has helped 17 individuals gain paid internships.
For more information or referrals to PRIDE’s internship program, please email our Referral Program Coordinator at email@example.com.