Public Policy Student Internship (Paid)

Website NYS Commission for the Blind / Helen Keller Services for the Blind

Deadline January 26

Position: Public Policy Student Internship

Locations: New York City, Long Island, and/or Albany, NY


New York State Commission for the Blind (NYSCB)

NYSCB’s mission is to enhance employability, to maximize independence and to assist in the development of the capacities and strengths of people who are legally blind. Established in 1913 and now comprising seven district offices around the state, the NYSCB provides vocational rehabilitation and other direct services to legally blind New York State residents, including children, adults, and elderly persons, and assists consumers in achieving economic self-sufficiency and full integration into society. NYSCB is unique among other state VR agencies in its cooperative relationship with private and nonprofit provider agencies.

Hellen Keller Services for the Blind (HKSB)

One of the oldest, continuously operated nonprofit rehabilitation agencies in the United States, HKSB provides unparalleled resources for blind, visually impaired and developmentally disabled people, giving them the tools to achieve their goals during every phase of their lives. We offer a wide variety of services, including training in orientation and mobility, assistive technology and daily living skills; low vision eye care; employment/placement services; and programs designed specifically for children and senior citizens. We work in our Brooklyn, Nassau and Suffolk training facilities and also in our constituents’ neighborhoods throughout the New York City/Long Island area. HKSB is a division of Helen Keller Services, which also includes the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults.

Project Description:

New York residents who live with blindness and significant vision loss have access to many services. However, these services are provided through a patchwork of government and nonprofit organizations that may be difficult to understand and navigate. The goal of the Public Policy Internship is to create a knowledge pool that will assist future public policy stakeholders in understanding the needs and issues affecting the blindness community. This will in turn create a stronger community that is able to advocate for system changes and processes that improve the lives of those living with blindness and vision loss. Our aim will be to place students in both a government and nonprofit blindness agency to learn about all the agencies and nonprofit providers working to serve the blind and visually impaired. This is a pilot initiative supported by CUNY City College of New York and Readers Digest Partners for Sight.


New York State Commission for the Blind (NYSCB)

  • Assist management in reviewing and understanding state and federal government policy guidelines for service delivery
  • Assist with creating policy manuals and guides for distribution to management teams
  • Assist management teams in preparing for government / nonprofit meetings where service delivery is reviewed
  • Assist management teams in local interagency meetings
  • Assist with coordinating delivery of information on services provided by various nonprofit organizations; research and create a reference list of services as needed.
  • Prepare policy briefs on issues impacting the blindness community for management teams to review
  • Support the Chair of the New York State Commission for the Blind Executive Advisory Board

Hellen Keller Services for the Blind (HKSB) – (or other nonprofit organization serving the blind)

  • Observe all blindness related services being provided
  • Review government manuals and guidelines to ensure services are being delivered in accordance with regulations
  • Review government reporting documents to ensure reports are being delivered in accordance with regulations
  • Develop and conducted a consumer satisfaction survey
  • Research grant opportunities for additional programming
  • Research and develop an outreach and community interaction plan
  • Assist with curriculum development and implementation of new programming
  • Support HKSB Director of Government Relations


  • Interest in disability and blindness services and issues
  • Interest in all levels of government and nonprofit policy and procedures
  • Interest in program development
  • Excellent research skills
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Experience in creating and using large databases
  • Some knowledge with data analysis
  • Ability to use Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook
  • Flexible schedule (some weekends and non-traditional hours)
  • Willingness to do some hands-on tasks
  • Prior experience in a nonprofit organization and/or experience in a local, state, or federal government agency
  • Enrollment in an undergraduate or graduate degree program through fall 2020
  • Eligibility for employment in the United States
  • Willingness to undergo a background check

Compensation and Schedule:

Interns will earn $15 per hour, receive a partial travel reimbursement, and work for approximately 20 hours per week for 28 weeks starting in spring 2020. One half of the internship will be with the New York State Commission for the Blind and the other half with Helen Keller Services for the Blind or another nonprofit organization serving the blindness community. The internship may be split between the spring and fall semesters (with a break for summer), or students may intern continuously from mid-spring to early fall. Either way, interns must be continuing as students in the fall semester.

How to Apply:

Please send a resume and cover letter with the subject line “NYSCB / HKSB Public Policy Student Internship” to by the end of the day on January 26, 2020.

The NYS Commission for the Blind and Helen Keller Services for the Blind are equal opportunity employers.

To apply for this job please visit