For Immediate Release October, 2002
Mariana V. Nork
Communities Around the Country and Internationally to Participate
WASHINGTON, DC, October 1, 2002- More than 3,000 job seekers and students with disabilities in local communities in almost 40 states and the District of Columbia, plus Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, New Zealand and Kosovo, will participate in National Disability Mentoring Day on October 16, was the announcement made today by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).
The kick-off for National Disability Mentoring Day will take place at a press conference on October 16 in Washington, DC. Proclamations will be issued that same day by Governors of various states.
AAPD, the largest cross-disability membership organization in the country, has been Host of National Disability Mentoring Day since 2001, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). National Disability Mentoring Day coincides with National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
By offering job shadowing and hands-on career exploration opportunities to students and job-seekers with disabilities and of widely-varying ages, National Disability Mentoring Day is promoting their career development on a very significant level. "Its goals, however, extend far beyond one day," explains Andrew J. Imparato, AAPD's President and CEO. "Employment is at the heart of economic empowerment. By exposing students and job seekers with disabilities to people who can help them pursue fulfilling careers, National Disability Mentoring Day opens doors that can lead to jobs and long-term success. It also gives participating employers access to a pool of talented workers and a large consumer market for their products."
Those public-private partnerships are fundamental to the success of National Disability Mentoring Day, and the program exposes corporations, government agencies, colleges and universities, school districts, other non-profit organizations, and mayors and governors committees to the disability community through their participation as mentors. They are all given the chance to work closely with people with disabilities and identify them as potential employees, but also the opportunity to recruit interns, learn more about the experience of disability, and develop lasting relationships with disability community leaders. As the numbers demonstrate, they are responding overwhelmingly to the invitation to participate.
"This is a unique opportunity for companies like Hewlett-Packard to expand their accessibility and diversity efforts," explains Michael Takemura, Director of the Accessibility Program office at Hewlett-Packard, Houston, Texas. "We are proud that employees in several H-P sites around the country will be participating as mentors on October 16, but further see this as a longer-term means for evolving our relationships with members of the disability community and exposing them to a variety of high-technology careers available to them. Through programs like National Disability Mentoring Day, we can help people with disabilities to find rewarding careers."
The last part of the National Disability Mentoring Day equation that makes it so effective on a national scale is its large volunteer corps. Local Coordinators, this year totaling more than 110 in the following states, organize activities in their communities that bring students/job seekers and public and private employers together:
To locate contact information for Local Coordinators in each state or find out if your community is participating, please visit the AAPD web site: www.aapd-dc.org and click on the National Disability Mentoring Day logo.
To learn more about National Disability Mentoring Day, contact Ollie Cantos at 202-457-0046 or by e-mail at email@example.com . For media information, contact Mariana Nork at 202-955-6114 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. National Disability Mentoring Day is made possible by its National Corporate Sponsors:
The American Association of People with Disabilities is a national membership organization promoting economic and political empowerment for more than 56 million children and adults with disabilities in the U.S. In addition to hosting National Disability Mentoring Day, AAPD promotes voter registration and political participation through its Disability Vote Project, educates businesses and the general public about disability issues, works with Congress and the Administration to promote the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and provides membership benefits such as financial services and product discounts.
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