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PR- 369-11
October 19, 2011


Initiative Pairs New Yorkers with Disabilities with Job-Seekers Across the City, Providing Networking, Mentorship and Experience in a Career Field of their Choice

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Commissioner Matthew P. Sapolin today announced that Wednesday, October 19, 2011 is Disability Mentoring Day across the five boroughs. In its eighth year, Disability Mentoring Day is an initiative which pairs disabled students and job-seeker mentees with potential employer-mentors in a one-day job in which they shadow and gain experience in career field of their choice. Each October, as part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities serves as the local New York City coordinator for Disability Mentoring Day, which was originally created by the American Association for People with Disabilities and the Office of Disability Employment Policy in 1991. Beginning with only 11 students with disabilities shadowing jobs in the White House under the Clinton administration, Disability Mentoring Day has grown to provide job-shadowing, career fairs and mentoring opportunities to more than 85,000 students and job seekers with disabilities in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

 “With the passage of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act, we have made great strides in fulfilling our founding promise of equality for all – but there is so much more we can do,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Disability Mentoring Day is a unique opportunity that allows New Yorkers with disabilities to show job-seekers first-hand how they can help businesses across the City meet their goals.”

“For the 8th year in a row, I am proud once again that our office is hosting Disability Mentoring Day,” said Commissioner Sapolin. “Year round, we seek to ensure that employers recognize that people with disabilities are an invaluable resource to the city’s workforce, as well as our city’s civic, economic and cultural life.  By bringing disabled students and job-seekers together with potential employers, we can strive for greater inclusion of this often overlooked population.  I would like to thank Mkada Beach, DMD Program Coordinator and Eric Jackier, DMD Chairman, as well as everyone on the DMD Committee for their tireless hard work.”

As part of Disability Mentoring Day, New Yorkers with disabilities are matched with workplace mentors, depending on their career interests. They are able to learn from their assigned mentors about a typical day on the job and how to prepare for that particular career. At the same time, employers gain increased appreciation of the talent represented by people with disabilities and a better understanding of how workers with disabilities can help them in meeting their workplace needs.

This year, more than 400 total mentees have participated in Disability Mentoring Day and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities has provided 264 matches with over 65 companies in career areas such as Mailroom Services, Social Work, Technology, Human Resources, Business/Finance, Education, Communication, Graphic Design, Customer Service, Retail, Law/Law Enforcement, Food Services, Maintenance, Office Management, Public Policy and Theatre. City agencies who have participated as mentors this year include the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, the NYC Department of Education, the NYC Department for the Aging, the NYC Department of Finance and the NYC Department of Probation.

Disability Mentoring Day will conclude with a reception at Citigroup, where mentees and mentors will share their experiences from the day. During the time leading up to Disability Mentoring Day, the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities has hosted several other complementary endeavors including:

  • A Disability Mentoring Day Fashion Show on October 11th entitled “From Goodwill to Great” celebrating the power to work, and which showcased  people with disabilities modeling various industry business attires.
  • Mentor Disability Etiquette training sessions on Oct 12th and 13th, which were conducted by Nancy Miller, Executive Director of VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Christina Curry, Executive Director of the Harlem Independent Living Center.
  • Job Readiness Workshop on October 19th, in collaboration with the Commission and Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, for jobseekers on interview and resume skills training; equal access and the NYC Human Rights Law; the Social Security Administration’s Work Incentives Planning and Assistance Project; and City Resources.
  • A Customer Service Industry panel for students and job-seekers with disabilities who were interested in this field In partnership with Time Warner Cable and Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey.
  • A workshop entitled “Using Social Media In Your Job Search” in partnership with the NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development and the NYU Langone Medical Center Rusk Institute.

The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities has also taken numerous other steps in order to foster better employment opportunities for people with disabilities – including working closely with Abilities, the nation's oldest 501(c)3 not-for-profit employment placement service for people with disabilities; working with members of the Global Workforce Diversity group at International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), one of the world’s leading companies specializing in computer technology, to partner with the City on a program for students with disabilities that would focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics; serving on the Business Advisory Board for Bergtraum High School for Business Careers, which provides encouragement and opportunities for the disabled to enter the workforce; and providing outreach and training regarding the city’s “55-a Program,” a program that demonstrates the City’s commitment to improving the representation of persons with disabilities within its work force by allowing persons who have been certified as physically or mentally disabled to apply for civil service positions on a non-competitive basis and without the requirement of a written or oral examination.

Established in 1973, the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities serves as a liaison between city government and disabled individuals, as well as organizations dedicated to improving the lives of New Yorkers with disabilities, working hand-in-hand to ensure that the voice of the disabled community is represented and that City programs and policies address the needs of people with disabilities.


Stu Loeser/Evelyn Erskine   (212) 788-2958


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