Intern Program For Disabled Begins In Montgomery County | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Intern Program For Disabled Begins In Montgomery County

Play associated audio

Leaders in Montgomery County have started an internship program for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, placing them in various county agencies.

Twelve high school seniors and recent graduates make up the first group of interns for what's called Project Search Montgomery. Each has been carefully vetted and their placement cautiously chosen, and while some might question an intern for the county's fleet division, Steve Blanks of the organization Seeking Empower, Encouragement, and Community — one of the groups the county is partnering with for the program — says one of the interns in the class will be working there.

"Working for the mechanics, and working for the parts shop," he says. "Working for the light maintenance group that deals with the police cars. One of our guys is really excited to be working there. He's actually going to be saving the mechanics time by allowing them to work on the vehicles while he runs the parts."

The unemployment among the disabled is higher than among the general population, and Blanks says that's because many employers are afraid to hire someone with disabilities. But Blanks argues that doesn't need to be the case.

"The most important risk is you put the wrong person in the wrong place," he says. "So, if I got someone who's very easily distracted, maybe has ADHD, and I put them in a mechanic shop that has lots of cars, lots of police cars, they get easily distracted by movement... that's the wrong environment."

Another intern will be working in the office of County Executive Isiah Leggett, who's a big supporter of the program.

"They need some supervision and some training in certain areas. But they can do everything from basic clerk work, to answering phone calls and responding to emails and all kinds of things."

Some of that training comes from an earlier version of the program the county is now running. The instructor of that program says he focuses on basic workplace etiquette, like establishing eye contact and maintaining personal space with fellow employees.

NPR

Edison's Talking Dolls Can Now Provide The Soundtrack To Your Nightmares

Thomas Edison built and sold about 500 dolls back in 1890. Now, new technology has made hearing their supercreepy voices possible for the first time in decades. (Thanks, technology.)
NPR

Tea Tuesdays: Butter Up That Tea, Tibetan-Style

Yak butter tea is often referred to as the national drink of Tibet. It's been consumed in the Himalayas for centuries and helped inspire the Bulletproof Coffee craze in the U.S.
NPR

Clinton 'War Room' Pushback And The 'Invent Your Own' Media Campaign

The Clinton campaign went into overdrive Tuesday trying to minimize the damage from a new book that delves into Clinton Foundation fundraising — and it's not using the typical channels to do so.
NPR

Edison's Talking Dolls Can Now Provide The Soundtrack To Your Nightmares

Thomas Edison built and sold about 500 dolls back in 1890. Now, new technology has made hearing their supercreepy voices possible for the first time in decades. (Thanks, technology.)

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.