On October 20th, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) will sponsor their 15th annual Disability Mentoring Day (DMD), an event which has steadily grown over the years beyond a national (US) scope and is now celebrated in 23 countries.
Disability Mentoring Day is an event that garners it power from a grassroots effort of local volunteer coordinators who match students and jobseekers with disabilities to mentors in their chosen field of interest. It is a one day pairing of two or more individuals who may have never crossed paths save the drive and tenacity of a coordinator committed to creating a potentially life-changing event for either party involved.
Having served as NJ State Coordinator for DMD in past years, I’ve witnessed firsthand how impactful this event is. As a professional recruiter, my career and livelihood are based on matchmaking. My niche in this industry is presenting qualified candidates with disabilities on an equal basis with candidates without disabilities. In a highly competitive job market, the focus tends to be on hiring only the top 10 percent of the talent pool, most or all of whom are passive candidates, currently employed and not actively seeking a job change.
Corporate Diversity/Inclusion professionals face the daunting task of guiding corporate culture to embrace differences. In a production-centric culture, there is an innate perception that disability equates to slow, less productive, a drag on efficiency. The stats prove otherwise, and there are trailblazing companies like Walgreen’s and others leading the way in their inclusion initiatives.
When you put people together from disparate backgrounds yet with shared interests, those inaccurate perceptions start to blur. That is the true magic of DMD….changing perceptions in just one day. To get involved, visit the Disability Mentor website.