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The Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD) and the Human Resources Division (HRD) are partnering to host a second annual “Disability Mentoring Week (DMW),” a chance for people with disabilities to access and explore career development opportunities within state government. During DMW, mentees with disabilities are matched with workplace mentors according to expressed career interests. Mentees participate in a career exploration experience and make connections with mentors and other personnel. Employers gain increased awareness and understanding of how people with disabilities can be involved in their candidate recruitment processes.

In 2017, MOD and HRD hosted the first Commonwealth DMW during October to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month. In all, 28 mentor pairs were matched across 21 state agencies.
DMW was created with the goals of:
  • Fostering potential internship and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
  • Equipping mentees to successfully seek state employment using the MassCareers– the state’s online application system.
  • Promoting people with disabilities as a core group for recruitment for an inclusive workforce.
  • Easing employer uncertainty about hiring people with disabilities.
  • Increasing confidence among mentees in reaching their employment goals
These goals continue to be especially important as persons with disabilities (PwD) continue to encounter challenges compared with persons without disabilities in both employment and labor participation rates. Of the approximated 392,000 working age people with disabilities in Massachusetts, about 34.9% were employed compared to 78.9% of people with no disability in 2014. According to the 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year estimates about 58% of the 393,251 were not in the labor force. Further, research shows that people with disabilities who were employed earned substantially less than their counterparts without disabilities, about $43,004 vs. $59,970 per year.
State government employment can offer career growth, comprehensive benefits, and competitive wages. DMW 2018 will take place this October. The application period has not opened yet, but please sign up if you would like to receive email updates and check the DMW 2018 webpage.

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