Pennsylvania Welcomes 30 Students with Disabilities for Summer Internship Program

In support of the Employment First initiative, Pennsylvania is welcoming 30 college students with disabilities who will participate in summer internships with state agencies.

“The OVR Internship program gives students with disabilities access to the same opportunities as their peers to gain experience in their field of study, develop their professional networks, build their resumes, and be better prepared to enter the workforce,” said Secretary of Administration Michael Newsome. “We are proud to offer the type of competitive opportunities envisioned by Employment First.”

The number of participating interns has grown by 50% from the previous program year in 2019. This year’s class of interns also includes students in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh who are participating remotely.

The OVR Internship program was developed by the Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) and the Office of Administration (OA). OVR recruited college students and OA facilitated their placement within state agencies.

“The OVR Internship program is a wonderful example of ‘Government that Works.’ Not only has this partnership expanded the Office of Administration’s knowledge about hiring people with disabilities but the interns themselves have broken down barriers with hiring managers in their host sites by their dedication, personalities, and personal achievements. This is truly a win-win-win program for all involved, and OVR, in partnership with the Office of Administration, continues to look for ways to expand the program and hiring initiatives for people with disabilities within the commonwealth,” said Acting OVR Director Ryan Hyde.

The Office of Administration is responsible for equal employment opportunity and human resource programs for state agencies under the Governor’s jurisdiction. In 2020, OA hired the commonwealth’s first Chief Accessibility Officer to focus on digital accessibility for state websites and online services. Earlier this year, OA hired a disability recruiter to work with organizations and schools to advertise open jobs and recruit job candidates with disabilities. OA has also centralized the review of ADA and religious accommodation requests to ensure consistency and compliance with federal and state laws.