October 15 is National Disability Mentoring Day. Begun in 1999 and set to coincide with National Disability Employment Awareness Month, this day promotes career development for students and job seekers with disabilities through one-on-one job shadowing, group visits to public and private employers, and hands-on career exploration.
“National Disability Mentoring Day helps answer the President’s challenge to build a more welcoming, and compassionate nation for all our citizens, which is the cornerstone of his New Freedom Initiative,” Secretary Chao said. “I strongly encourage young people, schools, businesses, and government agencies throughout the country to become involved in this important national event.”
“National Disability Mentoring Day is an opportunity for young people with disabilities to gain first-hand exposure to many of the career options available to them,” said Roy Grizzard, assistant secretary of labor for the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). “It will also make employers and the general public increasingly aware that people with disabilities represent a largely untapped resource for sustaining our national economy and well-being.”
Assistant Secretary Grizzard also gave special recognition to the American Association of People with Disabilities, which co-sponsors National Disability Mentoring Day with ODEP and works with other national organizations to promote career exploration for students and job seekers with disabilities. In 2003, young people in all 50 states, Guam, American Samoa, Japan, Italy, Singapore, France, the United Kingdom, and Australia are expected to participate in National Disability Mentoring Day.
ODEP is the nation’s first assistant secretary-led office that specifically addresses policies that impact employment of people with disabilities. It acts as a catalyst to stimulate new ideas about employment through research and development, policy analysis, grant awards, technical assistance, and the promotion of effective business practices.
For additional information about Disability Mentoring Day see http://www.dmd-aapd.org