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USF honors national disability day

In an attempt to improve the relationships between employers and employees with disabilities, USF will participate in the National Disability Mentoring Day on Wednesday.

The event was organized to coincide with the month that recognizes those with disabilities.

Lorene Burnam, coordinator of Student Disability Services, said disabled people are often an untapped source of employment.

This is the second year that Hillsborough County will honor the Disability Mentoring Day, and the first for USF.

The day will allow disabled students on campus a chance to interact with possible employers from the Bay area.

Various agencies and students have volunteered their time to prepare for the non-funded event.

“USF students will serve as (mentors.) Students here are also in the job market. MOSI is a mentoring site along with University Community Hospital, Shriners, Embassy Suites and USF faculty members will also be serving as (mentors,)” Burnam said.

The day will also allow disabled students to have the opportunity to develop relationships with professionals and to obtain future work references.

“They will get a glimpse of what the job they want to do is really like. (Students) will be able to get ideas as to what the real world work force is like,” Burnam said.

The day will begin with an orientation in the Education Building’s TECO room, which will include breakfast for the mentors and students. Afterward, the students will proceed into the work force for two to three hours.

“The mentors will treat students as though they were a new hire,” Burnam said. “The students will eat lunch with the professionals and experience what life would be like in that work field.

“What the employers learned last year about people with disabilities in the workplace is that they could not tell that they had disabilities without knowing they had it.

“Ability, not disability, counts. People with disabilities can not only do things as well but maybe even better,” said Joanna Lindsay, DMD coordinator.