Cornell University

June 24 2014

Workplace Mentorship

Blackstone Foundation funds program for veterans with disabilities

Veterans with disabilities who are transitioning from military life to the civilian workforce will be matched with mentors through ILR's Employment and Disability Institute and the US Business Leadership Network.

Funded through a $50,000 grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, the one- year program begins Sept. 1 and will match 20 veterans with 20 business professionals who are currently working in the mentee's field of interest.

Whenever possible, mentors will be successfully employed veterans or persons with disabilities, said Assistant Director of Training and Development Judy Young of the Employment and Disability Institute. "This will enhance the relevance and effectiveness of the experience for both mentors and mentees," she said.

The mentoring program intends to help veterans in a number of ways, from building resumes, to guidance on how military skills can transfer to a civilian job, to participating in practice interviews to strengthen communication skills, Young said.

The ILR institute and the business network will work together to:

  • Develop mentor and mentee profiles to facilitate matching based on geographic locations, mutual personal and professional interests, veteran status, and applicable employment and career backgrounds.
  • Identify 20 veterans with disabilities interested in mentoring support to facilitate their transition to the civilian workplace and adjustment to the onset of disability.
  • Provide mentors with a list of pre-screened veteran candidates for selection as mentees.
  • Develop an implementation guide to foster program replication and sustainability.
  • Provide support and follow up with mentors and mentees -- via email, Skype or telephone -- to monitor progress and support mentoring outcomes.

The Employment and Disability Institute conducts research and provides education and technical assistance on disability in the workplace. It works with government, schools, labor and other groups in the United States and abroad.

The US Business Leadership Network is a national non-profit that helps business drive performance by leveraging disability inclusion in the workplace, supply chain and marketplace. It represents more than 5,000 businesses.

The veterans' mentoring program continues through Aug. 31, 2015, when mentor/mentee evaluation analysis and a final report are completed.