Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Career Mentoring Youth with Disabilities as a Business Strategy

US Business Leadership Network companies recognize that the “gold standard” of disability-inclusive hiring starts with building the talent pipeline through effective partnerships. While internships have long been recognized as an essential strategy in this regard, since Disability Mentoring Day was launched as a White House Initiative back in 1999, mentoring youth with disabilities has also gained prominence. Today, Disability Mentoring Day is hosted annually by the American Association of People with Disabilities and celebrated on the third Wednesday of each October.

During the 2011 USBLN Annual Conference, the discussion topic for the Industry Sectors Roundtable was, “How does your company develop the current and future applicant pipeline including young adults with disabilities?” Participating Fortune 1000 companies shared that their DMD involvement resulted in the recognition that mentoring youth with disabilities is a business strategy to increase sourcing of qualified future job candidates with disabilities. In fact, several companies reported leveraging their Employee Resource Groups and partnering with local high schools and colleges to include youth with disabilities in long-term mentoring opportunities. Some also expressed an interest in a more structured mentoring program.

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