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ODEP News Release: [10/15/2003]
Contact Name: Michael Volpe
Phone Number: (202) 693-7909

Assistant Secretary Roy Grizzard Kicks-Off 5th Annual Disability Mentoring Day At U.S. Labor Department

WASHINGTON—Dr. Roy Grizzard, Assistant Secretary of the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), was the keynote speaker at a U.S. Labor Department ceremony kicking off the 5th annual celebration of Disability Mentoring Day.

Disability Mentoring Day comes during National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao selected “America Works Best When All Americans Work” as the official theme for October to continue to focus on solutions that ensure the full inclusion of persons with disabilities into the 21st Century workforce.

“Disability Mentoring Day is an opportunity for young people with disabilities to gain firsthand exposure to many of the career options available to them,” Assistant Secretary Grizzard said. “It makes employers and the general public increasingly aware that people with disabilities represent a highly talented, largely untapped resource for sustaining our national economy and well-being.”

The ceremony, held in the department’s Great Hall, also included remarks from Dr. Robert Pasternack, Assistant Secretary of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education; Kathy Brown, Senior Vice President/Policy Development, Verizon Communications; and Roslyn Dickerson, Vice President/Global Diversity, Honeywell.

Disability Mentoring Day is designed to enhance internship and employment opportunities for young people with disabilities by bringing them together with employers from the public, private, non-profit, and educational sectors for a day of job shadowing and other hands-on career exploration activities. It represents a collaborative partnership between ODEP and the American Association of People with Disabilities.

Launched in 1999, Disability Mentoring Day promotes career development for students and job seekers with disabilities. This year marks the first time young people with disabilities in all 50 states will participate in Disability Mentoring Day. In addition, youth with disabilities in Guam, American Samoa, Japan, Italy, Singapore, France, and the United Kingdom will also participate.

ODEP is the nation’s first assistant secretary-led agency that specifically addresses policies that impact employment of people with disabilities. It acts as a catalyst to stimulate new ideas about employment through research and development, policy analysis, technical assistance, and the identification and promotion of effective business practices.

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