October 07, 2009
Disability Mentoring Day is designed to provide students and job- seekers with disabilities a firsthand experience in learning about career opportunities in a variety of their chosen fields. Disability Mentoring Day helps to promote the importance of encouraging these students and job-seekers to develop the necessary skills and experiences to compete in today's competitive workforce. For many people with disabilities, their past participation in Disability Mentoring Day has resulted in ongoing relationships, internships, and firm job offers.
Disability Mentoring Day has expanded from a small DC-based event for three dozen students, when it was a program conducted by The White House in 1999, to a national event now hosted by AAPD. Last year, more than 14,000 mentees participated in Disability Mentoring Day in communities in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and many international locations, including Brazil, Germany, and Kosovo. In Ketchikan, more than 25 individuals were paired up with local employers for one-on-one job-skills training.
"Employers say that their own lack of exposure to people with disabilities is one of the biggest barriers to hiring qualified disabled employees," said AAPD President and CEO Andrew J. Imparato. "AAPD's Disability Mentoring Day program connects disabled students and job seekers with employers who are working in a field of interest. This informal exposure is leading to a stronger connection between employers and potential employees with disabilities, and ultimately, this leads to a more diverse workforce, and more directed and motivated students and job seekers with disabilities."
Ketchikan Independent Living Specialist Kevin Gadsey said "DMD is an opportunity for people with disabilities in Ketchikan to try their dream job and to learn what it takes to compete in the employment arena as a person with a disability.
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