The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) has published a helpful packet for employers to maximize an internship for students with disabilities and create an inclusive, productive, and diverse workforce. Below are the highlights from the document. The full packet can be found in this link
Before the internship, make sure to discuss what appropriate accommodations or productivity enhancers can be provided to make the internship successful. Example: do they need Assistive Technology, flexible scheduling etc..A full list of reasonable accommodations can be found here.
The Orientation Process
Matching the intern with the right department. What skills do they have? What are the needs of the various departments or company divisions?
Establish the intern supervisor & the intern's work space.
Provide necessary company information in person and in writing. Dress code, office hours, rules, use of office supplies, lunch, pay procedures, time sheets etc..
The Work Plan
Jointly create a clear short and long term work plan. The plan should include general, administrative, and substantive assignments.
The supervisor should be able to manage and provide constructive feedback on assignments. Will this internship lead to full time or part time employment? Is it a good fit for both parties?
Other Development Opportunities
Provide networking opportunities with other staff, customers, and vendors.
Encourage mentoring from other employees
Allow intern to attend social, professional development, and training activities. This includes staff meetings
Inclusive & Accessible Workplace
Provide reasonable provisions as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Diversity attitudes and behaviors of managers and supervisors directly relate to the perceptions and engagement of employee relationships. Inclusive practices relate to higher levels of perceived organization support and less conflicts among all employees.
Extend the same common courtesies to people with all abilities.
Avoid asking personal questions about a disability.
Respect the language and preferences of a person with disabilities. Example, one person might prefer to be called "hard of hearing", while another might prefer to be called "deaf".
Offer assistance if you see a need.
Identify yourself to a blind person before you begin speaking to them.