Helping people with disabilities find jobs

Our Employee Resource Group helps ‘save the day’

At National Grid, Disability Mentoring Day (DMD) is the signature program of our Enabling Disability Confidence employee resource group (ERG). So it was no surprise to see the group promoting the American Association of People with Disabilities’ program at Brooklyn’s MetroTech facility October 30. The day aims to provide career development opportunities for job seekers with disabilities – featuring hands-on career exploration, onsite job shadowing and ongoing mentoring.

“I enjoyed providing feedback on participants’ resumes, answering their questions and listening to their stories. I cannot express how great this experience was and look forward to being a part of it next year,” says first-time DMD mentor Anna Rivera, Lead Supervisor, Customer Contact Center.

Wayne Schechter, Director CMS DNY and another first-time DMD mentor, adds: “Over the years, I have had the benefit of mentors. Participating in Disability Mentoring Day was an opportunity for me to give something back to those who simply want to work. I found the mentees very determined to take advantage of this program. And I really enjoyed working with the group.”

Proud of our accomplishments
Edward (Eddie) Fletcher from Customer Care served as National Grid’s lead coordinator for DMD in MetroTech. Joining Eddie, Anna and Wayne were company mentors Patricia Michels (Office of the Executive Director and President US); Nadine Younge (US Tax); and Anthony Gargiulo (Customer Care). The program was hosted and sponsored by Ann Clarke (Information Services and Co-Chair of Enabling) and Judy Hirsch (Recruiting/Inclusion & Diversity).

Says Anthony: “I was excited about being a mentor. And a week later, I was pleased to be given an opportunity to represent National Grid at a DMD debrief sponsored by New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. I met people from companies like MetLife, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch there. After we shared our day’s agendas, activities and experiences, I came away feeling exceptionally proud that our event equaled or surpassed events sponsored by these other companies.”

Seeing National Grid as an employer of choice
The chock-full day included icebreakers; an ‘Honoring Differences’ card game; and an overview of National Grid, our Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) programs and the ERGs. Also a tour of the MetroTech Contact Center, as many of the seven participants (aka protégés or mentees) expressed an interest in working there.

Participants talked about their expectations, career interests, abilities and skills. And mentors offered tips in resume writing, interviewing skills, networking, building relationships, thinking about long-term career development, and the importance of being a team player in the workplace.

Guest speakers included Kathy Gangarossa (Recruiting/I&D), who talked about how to apply for available jobs downstate, and Brian Dungey (Network Strategy), who shared his experiences as a participant in the Graduate Development Program. As a reminder of their day, Judy presented DMD participants with a ‘goodie bag’ containing National Grid ‘Here with you. Here for you’ merchandise.

A feedback session at the end revealed that many protégés had never considered a career with National Grid. But after learning more about the company – and seeing how welcome we made them feel – they view us as an employer of choice now.

After the event …

  • At least three of the seven participating protégés applied for jobs here
  • National Grid’s DMD agenda is viewed as a NYC best practice
  • National Grid’s Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer Roger Young personally presented Eddie Fletcher with a letter of commendation for his outstanding work in coordinating Disability Mentoring Day.

Says Eddie (second-time DMD mentor, first-time coordinator) of the highly successful day: “Next year we expect to improve exponentially. This kind of event brings us closer to my personal goal – to see more people with disabilities being part of our National Grid family.”

Shown in the photo below are Eddie Fletcher (front, center), then behind him (l-r) Anthony Gargiulo, Judy Hirsch, a DMD protégé, Nadine Younge, Pat Michels, three DMD protégés (standing in back), Anna Rivera, Wayne Schechter and a DMD protégé

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