A unique partnership kicking off early next year will allow students with disabilities a firsthand look at what it takes to work for NASA.

The space agency will provide mentors for a handful of high school students who have autism, learning difficulties or multiple disabilities through an agreement with the District of Columbia Public Schools’ transition program.

The collaboration is designed to encourage careers in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math, NASA officials said.

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“We particularly want to encourage students who are underserved or underrepresented in STEM to explore the many opportunities that pursuing this course of study can offer. This partnership will help us do just that,” said James Stofan, the agency’s deputy associate administrator for education program integration.

Ultimately, the mentoring opportunity could lead to summer internships at NASA for some participants, officials said.

In addition to the space agency, D.C. Public Schools has agreements with organizations including Northrop Grumman and the Architect of the Capitol to provide career mentors for students with disabilities.

NASA officials, however, could not immediately point to another similar arrangement.