UH Manoa Celebrates Disability Mentoring Day on October 20

Center on Disability Studies working to unite disabled job-seekers with local businesses

University of Hawaiʻi
Christine Su, (808) 956-2890
National Technical Assistance Center
Amy Nawatani, (808) 956-0947
National Technical Assistance Center
Posted: Oct 12, 2004

HONOLULU — The National Technical Assistance Center for Asian American and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities (NTAC-AAPI), based at UH Mānoa‘s Center on Disability Studies, presents "Disability Mentoring Day: Career Development for the 21st Century," to be commemorated on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2004.

Disability Mentoring Day (DMD), administered by the American Association of People with Disabilities and the U.S. Department of Labor, is a local, national and international effort to promote the employment of persons with disabilities through personal mentoring. DMD in Hawaiʻi is coordinated through the NTAC-AAPI.

DMD in Hawaiʻi enables job-seekers and students with disabilities to spend part of a day visiting a local business or agency that matches their interests, and to have one-on-one time with volunteer mentors in their intended career fields.

"Although overall unemployment in the United States is currently low, barriers to employment create a wide participation gap for Americans with disabilities," said Christine Su, NTAC-AAPI employment coordinator. "According to national surveys, only 32 percent of Americans with disabilities ages 18 to 64 are working compared to 81 percent of those without disabilities in this age category."

For students and job seekers, DMD is an opportunity to underscore the connection between school and work, evaluate personal goals, target career skills for improvement, explore possible career paths and develop lasting mentor relationships. Previous participants say that DMD has helped them to gather greater confidence in their own employability.

For employers, DMD offers an opportunity to recruit interns, tap a pool of potential future employees and dispel fears about hiring persons with disabilities. Through DMD participation, employers demonstrate positive leadership in their communities.

Hawaiʻi employers interested in participating as a mentor for Disability Mentoring Day 2004 may contact Christine Su at 956-2890. Hawaiʻi job-seekers interested in participating may contact Amy Nawatani at 956-0947. A mentor or consumer application may be downloaded at www.ntac.hawaii.edu.

Disability Mentoring Day started as National Disability Mentoring Day in 1999 in the White House during President Bill Clinton‘s second term, as a program to increase the profile of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, celebrated every October. More than 6,500 students and job-seekers and 1,000 private, non-profit, governmental, and educational organizations participated in 2003.

The National Technical Assistance Center for Asian American and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities was created for the purpose of establishing collaborative linkages for strategic planning, technical assistance, training, outreach and service delivery and dissemination of information about Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with disabilities. NTAC-AAPI encourages organizations to foster mentoring, career exploration and other activities throughout the year to increase employment outcomes for members of this population.