Being a part of the MGH Aspire Internship Program means being a part of so much more than "just an internship." Be placed with one of our Employer Partners, receive ongoing, individualized consultations with an Aspire Career Counselor, and attend and weekly seminars with peers to strengthen your skillset and take the next step.
- To help interns learn the social aspects needed to succeed in the workplace.
- To assist interns in identifying and managing their challenges while recognizing and developing their strengths.
- To empower interns to enhance their unique skill set and build their confidence to be independent in the workplace.
Who are our interns?
Participants are adults, aged 18 and over with high cognitive autism spectrum disorder or a related profile. These men and women have average and above average overall intellectual skills. Interns must be motivated to become independent. While participants can be skilled in various aspects of a job or task, they have challenges navigating the social world and understanding a work culture. Participants must have completed high school.
What's in the program?
Our placements are carefully evaluated according to skills requirements, environmental factors, employee feedback, to make sure that it is tailored to the participants. That's what helps our participants achieve success. These placements help our participants to build real-life work experience from an organization that is committed to neurodiversity and has been trained on how to make the most of their contributions. Aspire interns may use employer partners as references and mentors. When employer conditions have allowed, Aspire interns have gone on to work for employer partners after the internship is over.
Evaluation and feedback
We work with participants to understand what their strengths are and the best next step is for their career might be. Then we provide detailed, future-oriented performance feedback in a way that helps our interns to understand what they need to do to get the results they are looking for. Interns are regularly challenged and supported so that they can see and celebrate their improvement
Aspire’s highly trained and supportive career counselors help interns integrate into their work sites and navigate the various aspects of the work environment. Additionally, the career counselor supports the interns’ workplace supervisor through an initial training and ongoing consultation to guide best practices specific to each particular intern. If you need additional support beyond the program, we also offer career counseling as a stand-alone service.
All participants in the program meet weekly at Aspire to review their experiences, evaluate their skills development, and to receive on-going education on the skills needed to succeed in the workplace. These meetings will cover such topics as:
- Resume and cover letter
- Interview skills
- Making small talk in the workplace
- Organizational skills
- Time management
- Strategies for managing anxiety and unexpected changes
The Alumni community
Once you have attended the internship program, we welcome you to join the Aspire Internship Alumni community. Attend networking events where you can compare notes with other interns and provide mutual support. Network with employer partners who value neurodiversity, and are interested in meeting
Feedback from our interns
“The internship allowed me to feel completely capable of my time at the workplace. The helpfulness of each and every person at Aspire and the kind words from my supervisors allowed me to grin ear-to-ear from all the work I'm doing there, and made me feel valued.”
“My personal goal is to have a positive work experience for myself while contributing to the company and the people I work with, and successfully sharing my skills to benefit the team. I thank Aspire so much for giving me this opportunity.”
“I used to feel awful about myself but now I have confidence. I thought that I couldn’t do good work and I was too scared to apply for jobs. I now know that I am a good worker and I am confident in my skills and in myself in general.”
Feedback from our families
"Thank you for making my son's two internships through MGH Aspire successful for him. The NWH placement reinforced his skills and work habits. The MGPO placement gave him self-confidence and an ease of working in a small office setting. On his last day, the MGPO staff wished him well with a cake, greeting card and photos. The staff may never know the power that this gesture had had on his sense of accomplishment."
After falling apart emotionally during her first college attempt in Illinois she has regrouped with help from Aspire and found her niche at a local college. She now hopes to eventually go to medical school to become a medical examiner. If that doesn't work she will still have the skills to work in any lab in the country and from someone who thought her life was over before it even got started, she is excited about her future. I can't thank Aspire enough for the incredible support and help that has given her hope and the tools to open the door to a very bright future."