Competitive Employment Opportunities (CEO) is a mentorship/internship program for high school students with disabilities. From January to June, students undergo after-school professional developments and mentoring sessions, 16 sessions in total. Professional developments occur twice per month; students spend these eight sessions learning self-advocacy, conflict resolution, personal finance, netiquette, and other professional skills. Every student in the CEO Program is paired with a mentor who works in a career field of interest to that student. Over the course of eight mentoring sessions, which also occur twice per month, students collaborate with their mentors to create a project that focuses on the student’s career of interest. Students present these projects in June. Every student who successfully completes the professional development and mentoring series is then eligible for an 80-hour summertime internship at their mentor’s place of employment.
The program has three basic parts, and student-interns are expected to fulfill each:
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:
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.
Yes, the CEO Program is free for mentors and partner organizations. There is no monetary cost to participate, as interns are paid through a partnership between DC Public Schools and DC Department on Disability Services, Rehabilitation Services Administration. The mentors and partner organization are not required to compensate the CEO interns during the 80-hour summer internship because the interns are paid through a partnership.
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. All sessions take place in person at DCPS Central Office. 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.
Professional developments and career focused project sessions are held in person at DC Public Schools’ Central Office 1200 First Street NE Washington, DC 20002. Virtual and hybrid sessions are not available.
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.
Of course. Below are five examples of excellent projects from previous years.
Contact our CEO program coordinator, Anna Schneid at firstname.lastname@example.org