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National Leadership Program

Washington, DC. RespectAbility is proud to announce fall fellowships and an on-going National Leadership Program for undergraduate and graduate students who want to gain skills and contacts while making a positive difference for people with disabilities. We are looking for thoughtful and results-driven individuals who want to achieve breakthrough results while getting hands-on experience. We are looking for people with excellent writing skills and a strong background in public policy, political science, advocacy, communications, journalism or employment issues. Fellows will gain direct experience working with presidential candidates, politicians, state officials, private sector employers, and disability organizations.

Fellowship in Public Policy/Employment

Fellows will work closely with our Policy and Practices Director to review state Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) plans and provide public comments that recommend best practices in employment, particularly for people with disabilities. We have close working relationships with governors and/or their key policy staff/vocational rehabilitation teams in all 50 states. We have spoken in-person with 42 governors, provided all 50 governors with key facts, and distributed a toolkit with best practices with disability, labor, and political leaders. Projects will be assigned based on an individual's unique skill set and may include researching employment issues, writing op-eds, collaborating with the Policy Director on public testimony, visiting inclusive employers, and attending meetings with key state or local leaders in the fields of business, disability, and government. Employment advocacy fellows will join supervisors at workshops and webinars that pertain to state politics and employment.

Fellows have many opportunities to network with US senators, presidential candidates, governors, and disability rights advocates. In addition to hands-on work experiences, all fellows will participate in our renowned guest speaker series and intensive strategic communications workshops. A career plan will be developed by each fellow that will enable him or her to gain appropriate workplace experience while contributing directly and measurably to RespectAbility's impact. Upon the completion of the fellowship program, applicants can expect to come away with excellent experience in the field of policy, employment for people with disabilities and leadership skills to prepare them for careers in public policy, employment law, disability rights, and politics.

Fellowship in Communications

Communications Fellows are on the front line of fighting prejudice, misinformation and low expectations. Fellows work on a team to create and deliver positive images, stories, and best practices. We identify, test, shape, and deliver materials that are leveraged in our proactive outreach to employers, the media, thought leaders, Hollywood, elite schools, policy & politics.


Varies daily!


Important Details for Applicants
• Excellent communication, research, and organizational skills are strongly preferred, and fellows should exhibit leadership skills to complete their own projects
• Basic familiarity with the features and functions of Microsoft Office strongly preferred.

However, software training will be available for some fellows in collaboration with the Fellowship/Leadership Director as part of the career path planning process
• Strong preference for college juniors and above
• Commit for a minimum of nine weeks
• Hours are 9-5, and fellows must be able to work at least 20 hours a week, though 40 hours per week is preferred
• There is no tuition cost to do the fellowship, and fellows will be awarded $250 a month as a transportation reimbursement
• The fellowship takes place in Rockville, MD (office is a short distance from the White Flint Metro Station)
• Your cover letter must explain why this fellowship in particular is of interest to you and what you “bring to the table.” You must discuss in your cover letter why you believe that you have the skills, focus, and independent drive to make a positive difference in your time with us at RespectAbility.

How To Apply

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