Hundreds of Students Visit Verizon Facilities for Disability Mentoring Day

NEW YORK -- More than 400 college students visited dozens of Verizon locations throughout the country today as part of Disability Mentoring Day.

The students met and spent time with a variety of Verizon employees, including managers responsible for deploying Verizon's fiber-to-the-premises network -- the first communications network connecting homes and businesses directly to fiber optics on a widespread scale -- and the FiOS data, voice and video services provided over the network.

Disability Mentoring Day promotes career development for students and job-seekers with disabilities. With leadership, coordination and resource materials from the American Association for People with Disabilities, local communities around the country organize activities that bring students and employers together for informational sessions about career opportunities and one-on-one mentoring with volunteers at public and private work places.

"A work place rich in diversity is simply a good business proposition," said Magda N. Yrizarry, Verizon vice president, workplace culture, diversity and compliance, who met with some of the student-visitors. "Disability Mentoring Day continues Verizon's commitment to focus on each individual's abilities and strengths. Leveraging the unique talents of a diverse workforce positions Verizon to better compete and succeed in an increasingly diverse marketplace," she said.

This is the second year Verizon has taken part in the Disability Mentoring Day event. This year Verizon is the event's lead corporate sponsor.

"Disability Mentoring Day gives these students a real-world example of life in the work place," said Andrew Imparato, president and CEO of the American Association for People with Disabilities. "We're proud to have companies such as Verizon step up as leaders in this event to give people with disabilities this opportunity."

Verizon's commitment to the event arose from the work of DIAL (Disabilities Issues Awareness Leaders), one of the company's 10 employee-resource groups that promote personal and professional growth for employees with common abilities and interests and support the company on accessibility initiatives.

Careers & the disABLED magazine's 2005 annual survey named Verizon "one of the top private-sector employers for whom [the magazine's readers] would most like to work or believe is progressive in hiring people with disabilities."  The magazine cited several examples of Verizon's commitment to employees with disabilities, including:

  • Working with the U.S. Department of Labor to determine how to increase the number of people with disabilities in the workforce.

  • Establishing a workforce intervention team, which helps employees with disabilities get the resources and accommodations they need to do their jobs, such as helping an employee with vision impairment get special software that can magnify text on a computer.

  • Sponsoring DIAL, the employee-resource group.

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is the nation's largest cross-disability membership organization, and is dedicated to promoting the economic and political empowerment of all people with disabilities. AAPD educates businesses and the general public about disability issues, and provides membership benefits, such as financial services and product discounts. AAPD was founded in 1995 by cross-disability leaders to help unite the diverse community of people with disabilities -- including their family, friends and supporters -- and to be a national voice for change in implementing the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency. Learn more about AAPD and the Disability Mentoring Day sponsors at www.aapd.com

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a Dow 30 company, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 55 million customers nationwide.  Verizon Business operates one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks.  Verizon Telecom is deploying the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network to deliver the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services to customers.  Based in New York, Verizon has a diverse workforce of more than 252,000 and generates annual consolidated operating revenues of approximately $90 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.