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Competitive Employment Opportunities

CEO Interns and Mentors

Competitive Employment Opportunities (CEO) offers a premier mentoring and internship model that gives students with disabilities unparalleled access to their careers of interest. The innovative model pairs students with mentors based on common career interests. Students also partake in professional developments (PD) to prepare them for the workplace. Upon successful completion of PD and Career-Focused project components, each student partakes in an 80-hour internship at their mentor's place of employment. The model aims to expose students to the career(s) in which they have interest, to grow their understanding of the day-to-day work that occurs, and increase their confidence in their ability to attain their career goal(s).


The model includes the following 3 components:

Professional Development

  • From January to May, students attend professional development sessions every other week. Professional Development (PD) sessions focus on building workforce competencies, applicable across a range of careers. Specifically, these sessions are designed to grow students’ soft skills and independent living skills.

Career-Focused Project Sessions with Mentors

  • Integral to CEO are pairings of students with mentors who work in the student's career of interest. From January to May, every other week, for an hour and a half, students and mentors meet for Career-Focused Project (CFP) sessions. During CFP sessions, each student collaborates with their mentor on a project that reflects the work in their field of interest. Students present their project during the CFP presentation series in May.

80-Hour Paid Summer Internship

  • Students who successfully complete the PD and CFP series are eligible for an 80-hour paid summertime internship. The internship takes place at the mentor’s place of employment, where they will have the opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge they gain from professional developments and the Career-Focused Project.


Eligibility Criteria:

  • Enrolled as a DCPS Junior or Senior, up to age 22
  • Have an IEP or 504 plan
  • Be pursuing a Diploma, and minimum 80% school attendance as reflected in official DCPS records
  • Agree and adhere to the CEO student contract and code of conduct
  • Utilize public transportation to travel to and from program (free travel training is provided)
  • Express desire to engage in career-readiness experiences

For updates, news, and notes, follow us @DCPS_Transition. Questions? Contact [email protected].