News - October 2005

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Disability Mentoring Day logo There are 33 million people in the United States with disabilities and the unemployment rate for this population is 44 percent. As discussions about the potential skills and labor shortage in the near future gain momentum, National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October has pronounced importance as employers look to broaden their pool of potential applicants.

"Employers are constantly looking to recruit the best and brightest candidates for their workforce, especially as we face a potential skills shortage in the years ahead," said Susan Meisinger, SPHR, president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM.) "The pool of available applicants of persons with disabilities is a source of talent for employers now and will be in the future."

Although many employers fear high costs associated with making accommodations for workers with disabilities, 38 percent of employers have not had to spend any money on accommodations and an additional 17 percent have spent less than $500, according to SHRM research.

Disability Mentoring Day was developed to illustrate how employers can create opportunities for individuals with disabilities through internships and on-the-job training. The program was designed by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) in connection with the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) in the U.S. Department of Labor. This year's Disability Mentoring Day takes place on October 19, 2005 . With assistance from AAPD, the program matches employers with job-seekers and students with disabilities.

Disability Mentoring Day began in 1999 and last year more than 4,000 students and job seekers were connected with 1,500 private, non-profit, governmental and educational employers nationwide.

SHRM will participate in Disability Mentoring Day at its headquarters in Alexandria , Virginia and encourages all HR professionals and employers to participate on Wednesday, October 19th, at their own organizations. Organizations interested in participating in Disability Mentoring Day should contact the AAPD website at .

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world's largest association devoted to human resource management.  Representing more than 200,000 individual members, the Society's mission is to serve the needs of HR professionals by providing the most essential and comprehensive resources available.  As an influential voice, the Society's mission is also to advance the human resource profession to ensure that HR is recognized as an essential partner in developing and executing organizational strategy. Founded in 1948, SHRM currently has more than 550 affiliated chapters and members in more than 100 countries.  Visit SHRM Online at


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