BroadFutures is proud to be a part of this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October. The purpose of NDEAM is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. This year’s theme is “Inclusion Drives Innovation.”
We strongly believe that inclusion drives innovation and see the evidence of it every day in our work. BroadFutures is revolutionizing the way young adults with learning disabilities enter the workforce through our holistic training, mentoring and paid internship program. We believe in the inherent potential of the young people that we serve.
It is estimated that one in five Americans has a learning disability, yet 46% of working-age adults with learning disabilities are not employed. At a time when organizations are searching for talent and a diverse workforce, this population presents an untapped talent pool. We know that including different perspectives in problem-solving situations leads to better solutions. Hiring employees with diverse abilities strengthens businesses, increases competition and drives innovation. It is vital for any future-focused organization to develop a diverse talent pipeline. We streamline that pipeline by providing support to our participants as well as our employers, creating mutually positive outcomes for both. To bring awareness to this effort, BroadFutures, in collaboration with several other like-minded organizations and Quoted Studios, developed a fabulous animated video on unconscious bias and the value of hiring individuals with disabilities. We hope you can all watch and share!!!
If you’re interested in learning more about NDEAM and its history, click here!
Intern Spotlight: DOUBLE FEATURE!
This month, we are shining the spotlight on Paul Cohen and Sam Cohen, two alumni from our Summer 2017 program!
Paul Cohen spent his summer interning with the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. During his internship, he served as an ambassador for the museum, scanned books and negatives, and spent a lot of time doing research. One of his favorite parts of the summer was being able to interact with the public when they visited the museum.
Paul said that BroadFutures impacted him most by giving him experience and getting him acquainted with the working environment. Additionally, he says that the program helped him gain the confidence that he will need once he graduates from college. He wanted to share these thoughts about the BroadFutures program: “BroadFutures allowed me to get a taste of the real world.”
Sam Cohen–who is in fact
not related to Paul, despite their last names–spent his summer interning with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. While interning at the museum, his responsibilities included working at the visitors’ information desks and doing computer data entries to log visitors’ comments and suggestions for the museum. Sam really enjoyed getting to interact with the visitors by working the desk and helping them find their way through the museum. He also loved being able to see all of the different exhibits while he was at work!
Sam said that BroadFutures impacted him most by teaching him how to be more proactive and assertive in the workplace. He wanted to share these thoughts about the BroadFutures program: “BroadFutures helped me look at things from a different perspective and gave me the motivation I needed to do things without being told. I learned so much during my seven-week internship and hope to apply the knowledge I’ve gained to my next real job!”
A big thank you to Paul and Sam for sharing their thoughts!
GOOD LUCK in all of your future endeavors!!
EMPLOYER SPOTLIGHT: Smithsonian Institution
Summer 2017 interns Alex, Sam, and Paul (center) with four
This month we are proud to honor and welcome back the
Smithsonian Institution as one of our dedicated employer partners. The Smithsonian Institution was established in 1846 and is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex. The institution is composed of 19 museums, 9 research centers, and a zoo, most of which are located in the District of Columbia. Find out more about the Smithsonian Institution here!
The Smithsonian Institution has served as an employer partner for four of our programs, and this past summer, they hosted THREE of our interns! This summer, we partnered specifically with the National Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of American History, and the National Zoo.
The Smithsonian Institution recognizes the value in workplace diversity and in empowering individuals with learning disabilities. Ashley Grady, Program Specialist for the Smithsonian Accessibility Program (AP), has been integral in facilitating and fostering our partnership and understands this value:
“The Smithsonian AP is honored to continue its partnership with BroadFutures. The BroadFutures participants come to us with a wide variety of skills and interests. All interns demonstrate professionalism, as evident by their motivation to succeed and their dedication to learning new skills. They are punctual, responsible, and outgoing. In addition, the BroadFutures interns are making meaningful contributions to their respective units. Tasks have included: customer service, exhibition planning, archival research, and digitization. We are proud to welcome the BroadFutures interns into the Smithsonian family each year and look forward to working together for many years to come!”
We deeply value the commitment of the Smithsonian Institution to our mission and the outstanding opportunities and support they provide for our interns. Thank you, Smithsonian!
A Reflection on Interning and Mentoring by Meaghan Koskella
BroadFutures has provided me with the opportunity not only to work with a very talented and ambitious team of inspired individuals, but also to learn more about myself and my professional development than I could have ever imagined.
Being an intern in the D.C. area is not an easy job, but each day at BroadFutures has been extremely worthwhile and meaningful. To be treated as an equal member of the team and collaborator, as well as to witness the success of the program and those we serve, affirmed my belief in and passion for BroadFutures’ mission. Serving as a peer mentor created a mutual exchange of guidance and wisdom among the staff and the interns. The interns not only taught me how to implement strategies to successfully lead a body of peers, but also how to become more organized, to enhance my own communication skills and confidence, and to always exert my full potential.
I will never be able to thank BroadFutures enough for the home they have made for me on H Street. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work directly with our CEO, Carolyn Jeppsen, and her team to create a more inclusive, diverse, and creative workplace. It has been a great privilege, and I look forward to working with the BroadFutures team in the future!!
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