The Patrick Administration’s Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) recently celebrated its eleventh year of the MCB Summer Internship Program, as well as the 77 summer interns who participated in this year’s program during a ceremony at the Massachusetts State House’s Great Hall of Flags.
The nationally recognized Summer Internship Program connects MCB consumer students or individuals looking to re-enter the workforce with competitive internship positions throughout the Commonwealth and the opportunity to develop professional skills in real-world settings.
In 2009, Governor Deval Patrick signed an Executive Order to make Massachusetts a model employer of people with disabilities, and this internship program is a critical part of ensuring access to opportunities that develop professional skills that lead to economic self-sufficiency.
“MCB is committed to providing internship opportunities, not only for the traditional college-age intern, but also for the experienced professional re-entering the workforce. This program is an excellent example of how collaborations between public and private partners can be mutually beneficial. As 2014 was my first experience with the MCB Internship program, I now understand why it’s considered to be one of the best nationally recognized models for Transition.”
~ MCB Commissioner Paul Saner
The MCB internship program is a national model that has been replicated in several states. The participating students spent eight weeks gaining experience working for media outlets, hospitals, private companies, colleges and universities, public agencies and elected officials.
Secretary of State William F. Galvin received an award during the ceremony for his work in hiring interns and consumers of MCB.
“The Commission for the Blind’s Summer Internship program has been an opportunity for us to obtain talented employees who are valued by our office. The partnership with the Commission has worked well for a decade and I look forward to the relationship continuing in the future.”
~ Secretary Galvin
The audience also heard from Alexander Moore, a senior at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, who recently completed his internship at Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC). “I have been fortunate to get some real hands-on experience like writing press releases, articles, and blogs, which I hope to use as I pursue a career in the marketing and communications industry,” said Moore. “Mount Wachusett Community College was delighted to participate in MCB’s successful and highly-organized internship program,” said MWCC Director of Public Relations Janice O’Connor, who spoke at the ceremony. “Our intern gained practical, career-related experience in a professional work setting, and the partnership with the MCB represented a tremendous learning opportunity for us as well. We are fortunate to live in a time where technology and adaptive equipment allows for seamless collaboration on projects. We benefited greatly from Alexander’s contributions.”
Pete Gustin, a voice over artist who is legally blind, delivered the keynote address at the ceremony. He has done promos and voice overs for television spots, commercials, and movie trailers. Gustin talked about how he “came out” after hiding his disability from those in his field of work for 15 years. Diagnosed with macular degeneration when he was eight years old, Pete’s story is an inspiring one about confidence, dedication, and perseverance.
More than 200 people joined the celebration and shared the interns’ success. MCB Commissioner Saner presented certificates of appreciation to each intern and their employer. Commissioner Saner and MCB Deputy Commissioner John Oliveira also presented the fifth “Reach for the Stars Leadership Award” to two interns who received a $2,000 and $1,000 scholarship award for their education. These awards recognize the outstanding accomplishments and potential of these MCB interns.
Recipients of the Reach for the Stars Leadership Awards are:
- Syed Mahmud Rizvi, Longmeadow
- John Dale, Malden
About the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB)
The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, an agency of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, provides the highest quality rehabilitation and social services to individuals who are legally blind, leading to independence and full community participation. MCB accomplishes this critical mission by working in partnership with consumers who are legally blind, families, community agencies, health care providers, and employers.
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