AAPD'S 2007 Disability Mentoring Day Program To Happen This Week in Communities around the Country

Contact: Mariana V. Nork
(202) 457-0046

Program Designed to Benefit Students and Job Seekers with Disabilities

WASHINGTON, D.C. This Wednesday, October 17, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) will host Disability Mentoring Day in communities in every state. This program is commemorated annually in October, which is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and is the launching point for longer-term mentoring activities that continue year-round.

AAPD is honored to partner with Darden Restaurants, Inc. and Disaboom.com, the lead sponsors, and the Social Security Administration (SSA), lead public sponsor.

Disability Mentoring Day was designed to provide students and job- seekers with disabilities a firsthand experience in learning about career opportunities in their chosen fields. It promotes the importance of encouraging students and job-seekers to develop the necessary skills and experiences to compete in today's competitive workforce. For many people with disabilities, their past participation in this program resulted in ongoing relationships, internships, and ultimately jobs. The program has expanded from a small DC-based event for three dozen students, when it was a program conducted by The White House in 1999, to a national event now hosted by AAPD. Last year almost 17,000 mentees participated, in communities in every state and the District of Columbia, plus Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and many international locations.

"Employers say that their own lack of exposure to people with disabilities is one of the biggest barriers to hiring qualified disabled employees," said AAPD President and CEO Andrew J.
Imparato. "The Disability Mentoring Day program connects disabled students and job seekers with employers who are working in a field of interest to them. This is leading to a stronger connection between employers and potential employees with disabilities, and ultimately, this leads to a more diverse workforce, and more directed and motivated students and job seekers with disabilities.

In addition to Darden, Disaboom and SSA, AAPD is also proud to partner with Verizon and the following sponsors: AIG, American Airlines, AmeriGroup, Hewlett Packard, JCPenney, Microsoft, Pitney Bowes, SunTrust Banks and Wells Fargo, as well as the U.S.
Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. All of these partners are playing significant roles in making Disability Mentoring Day an effective public-private partnership and helping to tackle the longstanding problem of unemployment and underemployment among people with disabilities.

For further information, contact AAPD at 800-840-8844 (V/TTY), by email or visit the AAPD website .