Have a disability?

Some of you may be interested in the following information:

My name is Ben Spangenberg, and I am the National Leadership Program Director at RespectAbility. We are a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for diverse people with disabilities. As an openly gay man with a disability, I understand what it means to face barriers, prejudice and discrimination in the workforce. That is why it is so important for me to help the next generation of leaders acquire the skills and experience needed to be in high demand for the best policy, communications and development jobs.

I want to let you know about our National Leadership Program for young leaders who want to go into public policy, advocacy, communications or Hollywood, and who are committed to creating a better future. RespectAbility is looking to hire the next generation of leaders to be our Fellows, and we would love to have your help with identifying talented students who are committed to equal rights.

Here are facts we want to change:

  • Only 65 percent of students with disabilities graduate high school and only seven percent complete college.
  • Only 1-in-3 working age people with disabilities has a job.
  • There are 750,000 people with disabilities currently incarcerated in our nation.

RespectAbility currently is looking to hire Fellows for our Spring cohort that runs from January 14 to May 17, with flexibility for start dates. We will accept 12-15 outstanding applicants from around the country who want to advance disability issues and who are seeking careers in media, public policy or advocacy. The deadline is Nov. 13.

Fellows are given the unique opportunity to work with our highly trained program staff on communications and stigma reductionpublic policynonprofit fundraising or faith inclusion.

As a Fellow, they will have the chance to help our mission of:

  • Reducing the “school-to-prison-pipeline” for people with disabilities by advocating for students with disabilities so they get all of the tools they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond.
  • Erasing the nearly 50 percent gap in labor force participation rate so that diverse people with disabilities can have jobs and a better future.
  • Ensuring that diverse people with disabilities are accurately portrayed in Hollywood.
  • Educating philanthropists and nonprofits about how they can include people with disabilities equally in their work.

Fellows also will work with mentors and professional staff, strengthening skills in advocacy and leadership as well as hands-on training in public speaking, writing, social media and networking.