Focus on what you can do

Janet Fiola, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, encouraged the 77 students attending Medtronic’s first “Career Exploration Day” to: Learn […]

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Janet Fiola, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, encouraged the 77 students attending Medtronic’s first “Career Exploration Day” to:

  • Learn more about the medical technology industry,
  • Explore their career interests,
  • Discover a potential mentor, and,
  • Focus on what they CAN do!

Medtronic World Headquarters held its first “Career Exploration Day” on January 26, 2004. The day was designed from the National Disability Mentoring Day, a community based program that was developed originally in the White House, which is now administered by the American Association of People with Disabilities. National Disability Mentoring Day was planned to bring students with disabilities into the workplace so they could learn first-hand about career opportunities.

National Disability Mentoring Day is an opportunity to underscore the connection between school and work, evaluate personal goals, target skills for improvement, explore career paths and develop lasting mentoring relationships.

Dr. Roy Grizzard, Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy, was the honored guest for the day. The Office of Disability Employment Policy was created in 2000 and is the first secretary-led office that specifically addresses policies impacting the employment of people with disabilities. The mission of ODEP, under the leadership of Assistant Secretary Grizzard, is to bring heightened and permanent long-term focus to the goal of increasing employment of persons with disabilities. This is achieved through policy analysis, technical assistance, the development of best practices, as well as outreach, education and promoting the mission of ODEP among employers.

It is important to encourage students with disabilities to develop skills and obtain the necessary experience to compete in today’s economy. Though career exploration and mentoring takes more than one day, events like Medtronic’s Career Exploration Day can get the process started and draw national attention to encourage more employers to employ people with disabilities.

The students had a full agenda at Medtronic. First they toured the Medtronic World Headquarters facility and were able to see, first-hand, and ask questions about the Science and Technology Center, Education Center, Product Displays, Media Center, Facilities Services and the Health and Wellness Center. Next, they were able to have lunch with 48 Medtronic employees and disability advocates who participated in the event. After lunch, Dr. Grizzard addressed the students and encouraged them to prepare themselves for opportunity; to be ready when opportunity presents itself.  Lastly, the students were able to participate in career break-out sessions with the Medtronic employees and explore careers in Administration, Creative Services, Engineering, Facilities, Human Resources, Information Technology, Legal, Manufacturing, Marketing, Media Services, Security, Patient Services, e-Library and Technology, and Scientific Research.

The event was coordinated through the efforts of the Medtronic Workforce Inclusion and Human Resources departments with combined efforts of the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition, the Institute on Community Integration and Minnesota Department of Rehabilitation Services – Blaine Workforce Center. 

I commend Medtronic in creating a benchmark for other Minnesota based corporation to follow.  It is a step in the right direction in employing people with disabilities.  Let us all focus on what we can do!

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