By Sandy Moonert, North Carolina Program Director for Enable America
Intro from Stan C. Kimer: My first blog in October was focused on the connection between schoolyard bullying and workplace harassment (link), since October is Bullying Awareness Month. And since October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a very key area in the diversity mix, I knew I also wanted to add focus on this in my blog.
I am very grateful to Sandy Moonert, who enthusiastically agreed to write about very important collaborative efforts around engaging people with disabilities in the work place. I first met Sandy when I worked with her on a half day session around the toughest areas of diversity – I covered LGBT and she superbly handled people with disabilities. I knew then she was a special person truly passionate about her work who I wanted to keep in touch with.
Each year during the month of October, many diverse and inclusive employers celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an initiative of the Department of Labor-Office of Disability Employment Policy. At Enable America we partner with employers to host Career Mentoring Days, matching job seekers with disabilities to mentors who provide employment information, career coaching, and encouragement. The mentoring company and its employees are exposed to a talented pool of resources while the mentees or job seekers further their understanding of the industry, company and position which they are targeting. Building these bridges of knowledge and education is the mission of Enable America, an advocacy for increasing employment of persons with disabilities, wounded warriors and disabled veterans.
Enable America works with 24 employers across the State of North Carolina, including the Carolina Hurricanes of Raleigh and Costco of Durham (pictured above). This October the Carolina Hurricanes held their 5th annual Enable America Career Mentoring Day. Hurricanes employee Johnny Gill spent the day with Richard referred by the DHHS Division of Services for the Blind, providing a behind-the-scenes view of the hockey operation and career advice; as well as involving Richard in the planning of an upcoming Hurricanes promotion. Also in October, Costco of Durham held their first Enable America Career Exploration Day when General Manager Brian Minion and his staff hosted 20(!) job seekers referred by DHHS VR, Rainbow66Storehouse, Durham Veterans Administration, Becoming of Durham, Carolina Outreach, Community Partnerships, and Ft. Bragg WTB. Job seekers learned about Costco’s unique company benefits and position in the retail industry, as well as employment opportunities and process. Networking opportunities like the Hurricanes and Costco mentoring days give job seekers a competitive edge and can help accelerate their job search while expanding visions of what is possible, for both the job seeker and the employer. Thank you Carolina Hurricanes and Costco of Durham for your inclusive culture!
Enable America’s mission continues throughout the month of November when in addition to persons with disabilities, the nation recognizes National Disabled Veteran Employment Awareness month. Recruitment is underway for wounded warriors, disabled veterans and persons with disabilities to attend mentoring days offered by Enable America in partnership with Eaton Corporation, SAS, Lenovo and Duke Energy. For more information, visit www.EnableAmerica.org.
About Enable America: Established in 2002 by attorney Richard Salem, Enable America builds bridges between employers, social service agencies, and people with disabilities, including disabled veterans and wounded warriors, through programs that improve employment opportunities. The organization’s Community Connections, Business Connections, Employment Mentoring, Job Skills Workshops and VetConnect programs unite members of the disability community and business community to raise awareness and increase employment opportunities for the more than 56 million Americans with disabilities. Information and success stories can be found www.EnableAmerica.org.