Frequently Asked Questions

What is the CEO Program?
Competitive Employment Opportunities (CEO) consists of preparatory experiences designed to help students with disabilities attain their postsecondary goals. The model aims to expose students to career-based learning experiences to equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in a postsecondary environment. A paid postsecondary training program for students, CEO is comprised of three academies:
  • PRE-EMPLOYMENT TRANSITION SERVICES (PRE-ETS) ACADEMY – 9th/10th grade students engage in career awareness experiences in various fields in order to shape their field(s) of interest. Students will engage in instructional activities that provide a foundation of the skills needed to be successful in the workforce.
  • MENTORING ACADEMY – 11th/12th grade students are paired with a mentor who works in the student’s career field of interest. Mentors and students work together to create a “Career-Focused Project” and students attend an 8-part professional development series from January to May. During the summertime, students apply skills learned by working an 80 hour internship at their mentor’s place of employment.
  • EXPERIENCES IN TRANSITION (EXIT) ACADEMY – Students in their final year of high school are engaged in professional development sessions and exposed to real life application designed to teach them how to navigate and manage the expectations of a postsecondary education or workplace setting.
Who interns with the CEO program?
Students who have demonstrated a strong desire to learn more about their career field of interest through professional development training, career mentoring, and a paid internship are selected to intern with the CEO Program. All CEO participants have been recommended by faculty members at their respective schools. They have also written compelling responses to short-answer questions on the program application, and they have represented themselves professionally at a panel interview. All CEO interns must:
  • Enrolled as a DCPS high school student, up to age 22
  • Have a documented disability, per an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan
  • Demonstrate consistent, timely school attendance
  • Be pursuing a Diploma, as reflected in the IEP Diploma Decision Status
  • Agree and adhere to the CEO student contract and code of conduct
  • Be able to utilize public transportation to travel to and from program activities (free travel training is provided)
  • Express desire to engage in career training
Who does the CEO Program partner with?
DC Public Schools works with a diverse array of partners in order to provide meaningful experiences for CEO Program interns. Recent CEO Program partners include: NASA, Northrop Grumman, Architect of the Capitol, Miller & Long and many others. Please visit the CEO Program partners page to see the full list.
Is the CEO Program free for mentors and partner organizations?
Yes, the CEO Program is free for mentors and partner organizations. There is no monetary cost to participate, as interns are paid by DC Public Schools.
What is the career focused project?
The career focused project is a project that demonstrates knowledge and skills necessary for success in an interns career field of interest. The focus of each project is determined by the intern and mentor during the first two career focused project sessions. CEO Program staff are available to assist with project ideas if necessary.
When does the CEO Program take place?
CEO Program mentors meet with students twice a month from January to June to work on career focused projects. Career focused project sessions take place on either Tuesdays or Thursdays from 4:30pm – 6:00pm. Internships take place in the summer and generally run for 80 hours from June through August, on a flexible schedule to be determined by interns and their mentors.
Could you please give me an example of a career focused project?
Of course. Below are five examples of excellent projects from previous years.
  • Mentor Organization: Architect of the Capitol / Project: Intern created a 3-D design of a music studio
  • Mentor Organization: NASA / Project: Intern gave a presentation on the landing of the Mars Rover
  • Mentor Organization: HSC / Project: Intern researched and gave a talk on Diabetes
  • Mentor Organization: Advisory Board / Project: Interns created business plan for a non-profit
  • Mentor Organization: Northrop Grumman / Project: Intern presented the steps to become an engineer
Where are the career focused project sessions held?
Career focused project sessions are held at DC Department on Disability Services, Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). RSA is located at 250 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20024.