The Center for Independent Living (CIL) is a national leader in supporting disabled people in their efforts to lead independent lives. As an organization founded by people with disabilities, the folks at CIL are highly motivated to achieve solutions, whether it be helping individuals with their complex needs or advocating social policy changes.
CIL is also one of CTP’s valued internship sponsors, providing CTP students with a month of real work experience at the end of their classroom training. CIL’s Cecilie Rose wears many professional hats–Database Administrator, Program Manager and Electronic Media Administrator–so it’s not surprising, really, that she has made use of several of our interns during the past year.
When asked what benefit CIL gets from using our interns, there’s no hesitation as she says with animation, “It’s a small investment in training with a huge reward in terms of what they can do for us.” Then she adds, “And they always teach me new things.”
The day I visited, CTP student Nathan Dyer was just starting his first day of internship. I overheard Cecilie ask him to look at data from two different programs and decide what he thought would be the best way to combine the data into one program. She said, “There are various different ways you could do it, and I’m interested to know which one you personally think would be best.”
When Cecilie interviews prospective interns, she looks for someone who is independent, who asks questions, who likes to learn new things and who is not afraid to experiment. CTP students, she finds, come well prepared “with a good skill-base they can build on”.
Cecilie has asked our interns to do a variety of challenging projects. CTP intern Vivian Taube’s primary tasks were to finish writing the database user’s manual, set up database password protections and research possible ways to improve CIL’s website. Another CTP intern, Terri Oberkamper, edited and proofread CIL’s Consumer Policies and Procedures handbook, documented their database and wrote reports. Nathan will be helping them convert to Google apps and to convert from Thunderbird to Outlook.
In the process of doing this for CIL, the interns get an opportunity to apply and augment their newly learned computer skills, while gaining valuable work experience that looks good on their resumes–both of which serve to increase their self-confidence. They also get to meet a lot of people at CIL, providing a valuable networking opportunity. In fact, it was precisely through such networking that Terri got her current job in software tech support at Q90.
So a big and heartfelt THANK YOU to CIL for suporting our students by providing them with such wonderful and challenging internship opportunities!