City Participates in Disability Mentoring Day 2010

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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City Participates in Disability Mentoring Day 2010

Posted: 10/20/2010
The City of Knoxville is welcoming 13 people with various disabilities this week who will be shadowing city employees in areas ranging from the horticultural services division and recycling office to the community development, parks and recreation and information systems departments during Disability Mentoring Week.

The visits are part of Disability Mentoring Day 2010, which the City of Knoxville and participating local businesses and organizations have stretched into a week - October 18-22 - this year.

Disability Mentoring Day - it's officially today, October 20 - was established in 1999 as part of a White House initiative to promote National Disability Awareness month. The annual effort to promote career development for students and job seekers with disabilities has grown from less than three dozen participants during that first year to thousands of people who participate nationwide today.

The goal is to pair an individual with a disability with a workplace mentor in a field they are interested in exploring. They typically spend a day, or part of a day, working together giving the mentee some insight into the job.

"We've got all kinds of folks spread all over the place," said Stephanie Cook, the city's disability services coordinator. One of Cook's goals has been to have as many city departments involved in the program as possible.

"It gives city employees an opportunity to work alongside people with disabilities and to learn that, hey, they are just people too. I think this is a win-win for everyone involved," she said in an earlier interview.

The city has participated in the program since 2003, starting out with a single individual.

A total of 30 Knoxville area companies and organizations are taking part in the Disability Mentoring Week in Knoxville this year - up from just six last year.

The Knoxville Chamber, with the support of organizations like the Disability Resource Center, the University of Tennessee and the City of Knoxville has been actively encouraging more companies to become involved.

More information about Disability Mentoring Day is available by contacting:

Nicole Craig at the Disability Resource Center at 865-637-3666 or ncraig@drctn.org Or Tina Jones at 865-594-6720, ext. 1105 or jonest@utk.edu.