Disability Mentoring Day (DMD) is the first step in MOPD’s Youth Employment Programs for students with disabilities. DMD is national effort that is coordinated locally by MOPD and the Chicago Public Schools. DMD promotes career development for students with disabilities through hands-on career exploration.
Students participate in interactive workshops that focus on resume writing, interviewing, financial literacy and understanding one's disability rights as an employee with a disability. Students also have the opportunity to learn about careers in various fields, including computers and technology, health care and the trades, and other informational sessions offered by private companies and public sector partners.
Additionally, the event typically includes an exciting activity that is used to engage student’s interest in the workplace. Past activities include cross-disability creative arts performances and a Dressing for Success fashion show, which showcased DMD student participants modeling appropriate and affordable workplace attire.
History of National Disability Mentoring Day
The National Disability Mentoring Day Program began in 1999 with just 11 students with disabilities job shadowing in the White House under the Clinton administration. Now, DMD has grown to provide job-shadowing, career fairs and mentoring opportunities to more than 85,000 students and job seekers with disabilities in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and in 24 countries world-wide.
DMD is the nation’s largest job-shadowing program designed for people with disabilities, which allows career exploration to take place outside of the hiring context so that job seekers can meet and learn about employers committed to hiring from this diverse and untapped workforce.
In 2001, MOPD launched its first DMD Program with just 20 students in collaboration with the Office of Special Education and Supports in Chicago Public Schools. Since that time, the program has grown in size and scope. Now, DMD is the first prong of a year-long employment program designed to connect academic learning to employment. Each year, students with disabilities planning for life after high school take advantage of this event as a unique career building opportunity.