Disability Mentoring Day Program

More than 10,000 students and job seekers with disabilities had the opportunity to be mentored by people who are in […]

More than 10,000 students and job seekers with disabilities had the opportunity to be mentored by people who are in positions of interest to them, thanks to a program called Disability Mentoring Day (DMD). As a result of participation, many of these students and job seekers offered educational guidance, longer-term mentoring opportunities, internships, or full-time employment.

As stated by a mentor participant in last year’s DMD program, “I didn’t see someone in a wheelchair—I saw someone who likes to do what I do. I now recognize that, in a workplace, it’s all about compatibility that makes a team.”

DMD is a core program of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the largest cross-disability membership organization in the country. Thanks to a strong organization of volunteer local coordinators, AAPD is able to implement DMD in regions in every state, plus the U.S. Virgin Islands and 17 countries, including Argentina, China, Kosovo and Israel. DMD is effective because it implements a grass-roots structure that fosters creativity and empowers locally based, on-the-ground businesses, non-profit organizations, schools, government agencies and consortiums to use a nationally recognized and trusted model to adapt and make work for their own diverse communities.

DMD 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. It 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. A 2004 participant from West Virginia said, “DMD was a good way to learn about a particular job and the skills that are needed to be successful on the job. I was especially pleased to be mentored at a bank, since I plan to work in the banking business when I complete my training.”

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the country’s largest cross-disability membership organization, promotes the economic and political empowerment of the more than 56 million children and adults with disabilities in the U.S. AAPD was founded in 1995 to help unite the diverse community of people with disabilities, including their family, friends and supporters, and to be a national voice for change in implementing the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For additional information and to learn about AAPD member benefits, advocacy efforts and programs, visit the AAPD website, www.aapd.com