Disabled people to shadow workers

Published 11:37 pm Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Staff Writer

Beaufort County agencies are preparing to observe for National Disability Mentoring Day, with that observation occurring at Wal-Mart in Washington on Wednesday morning before moving to The Meeting Place in downtown Washington later that day.
Pamela W. Daw, coordinator of marketing and development at the Beaufort County Developmental Center, said BCDC and the Washington office of the N.C. Division of Vocational Rehabilitation have combined efforts to promote the employment of people with disabilities by hosting a Disability Mentoring Day at Wal-Mart.
“National Disability Mentoring Day will introduce local students and adults with disabilities to the job market and employers to the potential of people with disabilities,” Daw said. “Adults with disabilities and Beaufort County high-school students will be mentor by employees of Wal-Mart in Washington in various departments. Everyone with a disability should be given a chance to see what career path they are interested in.
“Ten individuals with disabilities will be provided an opportunity to job shadow Wal-Mart employees in several departments, including furniture, photo lab, dairy, bakery, electronics and grocery.”
Daw said the reason the agencies are providing this program is because the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is historically higher than the jobless rate for people without disabilities.
“National Disability Mentoring Day was created to encourage and expose people with disabilities to new experiences, as well as introduce employers to the potential of people with disabilities. It breaks down barriers in this community,” Daw said.
According to Daw, adult participants are referred by BCDC and the Washington NCDVR office. The mentors and the people they will be working with are scheduled to meet at Wal-Mart for a brief orientation before beginning their mentoring and job-shadowing duties from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Wednesday.
At 11:15 a.m., participants will make their way to The Meeting Place in downtown Washington for a luncheon.
“The Meeting Place partners with Beaufort County Developmental Center in hiring people with disabilities to work in the restaurant,” Daw said.
Anne and Bob Martin, owners of The Meeting Place, were recipients of the National Industries for the Severely Handicapped’s Small Business Partnership Award this year.
To find out more about National Disability Mentoring Day or to learn about serving has a volunteer in the program, contact Daw at 252-946-0151.