The National Leadership Program: Faith Inclusion Apprenticeship
The field of disability faith inclusion and belonging is growing as numerous congregations and faith-based organizations recognize that people with disabilities want to belong, like anyone else. Faith Inclusion and Belonging is one of the four pillars of our work at RespectAbility. We are the only national disability organization focused on ensuring that people with disabilities can participate and belong in all aspects of faith community life.
The goal of this Apprenticeship is to provide you with the knowledge, skills, and experiences for career opportunities in the growing faith inclusion and belonging field.
RespectAbility Staff and Apprentices all work remotely. Our program is fully accessible for people with disabilities and offers full-time in-house job coaching, skills development and networking opportunities. Assistive technology is available as needed.
Snapshot of Our Work
RespectAbility had long focused on Jewish community inclusion, providing tool kits, webinars, studies, speakers and partnering with other Jewish organizations to elevate the issues, obstacles, and solutions to encourage participation by disabled Jews.
In 2021, the Board of Directors, recognizing the success in Jewish community inclusion, decided to expand the department to interfaith work. The name of the department, formerly Jewish Inclusion, was renamed Faith Inclusion and Belonging. The first Senior Director for this department, Shelly Christensen, was hired in April, 2022 to develop this new direction. Shelly, an internationally known leader in both Jewish and Interfaith sectors, has worked directly with people with disabilities, congregations, large religious organizations and interfaith partners. Faith Inclusion and Belonging consults and collaborates with diverse disability and faith organizations, and elevates the voices of people with disabilities.
As a Faith Inclusion and Belonging Apprentice, you will be trained in diverse aspects of our field, including current practices that foster changes in how faith-based organizations support people with disabilities and strategies that address culture and mindset shifts, raising awareness, person-centered thinking, and collaboration. You will explore the intersectionality of faith inclusion and disability. You will develop your skills and strengths, contributing to the work of the Faith Inclusion and Belonging department. You will be mentored by Senior Director of Faith Inclusion and Belonging, Shelly Christensen, a pioneer, author, and leader in this field, and the National Leadership Program Director, Ben Spangenberg.
Who Should Apply
The National Leadership Program is ideal for people who want to gain skills, experience, and contacts while making a positive difference in the lives of people with disabilities. We are seeking individuals who are interested in gaining skills and experiences to work in the faith community, disability, and mental health inclusion sector. If you are a college or graduate student, joining the workforce for the first time, or returning to the workforce after a break, please apply. Past faith inclusion experience is not necessary.
Apprentices can write posts for the department newsletter, give presentations on their projects, attend trainings and meetings with subject matter experts who are established leaders in a variety of program models, participate in department discussions and team meetings, work on specific tasks and projects, and contribute to the growth of the department’s work in interfaith collaboration, partnerships, consulting, and resource development. Apprentices will participate in Faith Inclusion and Belonging team meetings.
Apprentices will be encouraged to explore the intersection of disability, faith, inclusion and belonging in their own communities of faith, and work with clergy and other leaders, as appropriate, to design a project that will benefit inclusion and belonging.
In addition to working in the Faith Inclusion and Belonging Department, Apprentices will participate in meetings, special presentations by guest speakers and intensive strategic communications workshops for all Apprentices. Apprentices learn about RespectAbility’s work in all our departments as well as gain an understanding of how nonprofits function. A career plan will be developed by each Apprentice that will enable them to gain appropriate workplace experience.
Important Details for Applicants
- Excellent communication and organizational skills are strongly preferred, and Apprentices should exhibit leadership skills to complete their own projects.
- Strong preference for college seniors and above.
- The Apprenticeship program lasts five and a half months.
- Core hours include between 11 AM-5:30 PM ET.
- Apprentices are required to work 20 hours per week.
- Apprentices will receive $17/hr.
- Your cover letter must explain why this Apprenticeship in particular is of interest to you and why you believe you have the skills, focus and independent drive to make a positive difference in your time with us at RespectAbility.
- A commitment of 20 hours per week.
- Participation in staff meetings and team meetings.
- Attendance in weekly speaker series.
- Work with the National Leadership Program Director on advancing your career goals. This will include strengthening your resume, cover letter and building your professional network.
Apply for the Apprenticeship
RespectAbility provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, veteran status or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, RespectAbility complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.
All Apprenticeship Opportunities
- Public Policy and Civic Engagement
- Entertainment and News Media
- Communications and PR
- Nonprofit Management
- Faith Inclusion
- Apprenticeship for Blind and Low-Vision Leaders