PROJECT NAME: National Disability Mentoring Day (NDMD)
PROJECT LOCATION: Worksites nationwide
ADMINISTERING ORGANIZATION: American Association of People with Disabilities
Ollie Cantos, General Counsel and Director of Programs American Association of People with Disabilities, 800-840-8844
FUNDING SOURCE: US Department of Labor
POPULATION SERVED: Students and job seekers with disabilities
SERVICE TYPE: A day for students with disabilities to visit a job site to learn more about the job and prepare for a career
National Disability Mentoring Day began in 1999 as part of a White House effort to increase the profile of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, celebrated every October. It is a national partnership between the AAPD and the US Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy. NDMD is designed to enhance internship and employment opportunities for people with disabilities by bringing them together with employers from the public, private, non-profit, and educational sectors for a day of job shadowing and other hands-on career exploration activities. Students and job seekers with disabilities are matched with workplace mentors according to career interests, enabling students to learn more about what a job is like day-to-day and how to prepare for such a career. Students benefit by understanding the connection between school and work, viewing a career in action, evaluating personal career goals, targeting skills for improvement and making contacts that could result in internship or job opportunities. Its mission is to break down employers’ fears about hiring people with disabilities and increase the latter’s confidence in securing gainful employment. Employers benefit by understanding what people with disabilities have to offer, identifying potential recruiting targets, developing lasting relationships with leaders in the disability community, and demonstrating community leadership. Educators and counselors benefit by helping students value school work, motivating students to think early about possible career paths, and finding out what job seekers do and don’t want for a career. NDMD will be commemorated on October 20, 2004. Local Coordinators are the key to Disability Mentoring Day. They play a matchmaking role between prospective Mentees and Workplace Mentors and organize DMD activities. Students interested in participating or employers interested in serving as a mentor, can check http://www.dmdaapd.org/coordlist/coordlist.html for a listing of Local Coordinators by state or contact GeneralCnsl@aol.com .