Harper Congressional Internship Program for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing social distancing guidance, the program has been suspended.
About the Program
Established by Rep. Gregg Harper in 2010, the Congressional Internship Program for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities is a unique program designed to give students with varying intellectual disabilities an opportunity to gain congressional work experience. On Tuesday, December 11, 2018, the program was renamed the Gregg and Livingston Harper Congressional Internship Program for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities in honor of its founder, Gregg Harper, and his son Livingston.
Working in conjunction with George Mason University’s LIFE Program – a postsecondary education program for young adults with intellectual disabilities – Harper launched the internship program with three Mason LIFE students and six House offices. To date, nearly 200 congressional offices from the House and Senate have participated.
Today, Harper continues to expand the program to accommodate additional students so that they are given the same exciting educational and enrichment opportunities typically afforded to congressional interns working here in the nation’s capital.
How the Program Works
Each participating office will host a Mason LIFE student and his or her work coach for one two-hour session each week. During the two-hour or four-hour sessions, which are held Wednesdays and Friday mornings and afternoons, the interns will work with their congressional office and their work coach to complete various office tasks as assigned.
In addition to fulfilling their weekly office responsibilities, the interns will have an opportunity to enjoy various enrichment activities coordinated by the program administrators. Some of the prior enrichment activities have included Capitol tours and trips to one of the many Smithsonian museums nearby.