Fri, Nov 3, 2017
Marshall Medical receives statewide award for Project SEARCH disability-support program
October was National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and Marshall Medical was recognized with an award from the Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities.
The award recognized Marshall Medical’s participation in Project SEARCH, an international program that targets students with intellectual and developmental disabilities with a goal of helping them become employable. The awards program also recognized a local business and their employee from the Project SEARCH program.
Marshall Medical earned the Media of the Year award for work done by its marketing department to spread awareness of Project SEARCH. The program partners with Marshall North and South to place young people with learning disabilities in internships. Six students have been hired to work at Marshall Medical since the hospitals started participating in Project SEARCH three years ago.
This year is the first time the Governor’s media award was given to an organization other than a newspaper or radio. Rose Myers, marketing coordinator, accepted the award on behalf of Marshall Medical Centers.
“Rose has taken a personal interest in promoting awareness and helping change attitudes toward people with disabilities,” said Beth Hanner, Project SEARCH instructor, in presenting the award. “After visiting and observing our interns in both the classroom and work rotations, she has written several amazing articles for local newspapers.”
The publication of those articles made other businesses familiar with the program, she said.
“When we would go out in the county looking for jobs for our interns, it was amazing how much more successful we were in having businesses willing to participate in a program they already knew about.”
Much credit for the success of Project SEARCH students at Marshall Medical goes to the many directors who agreed in 2015 to put interns to work in their deparents.
“Our opportunity to promote this program was due to our staff stepping up and accepting interns into positions throughout the hospitals,” said Marketing Director Claudette DeMuth. “It was their willingness to work with Project SEARCH students that paved the way for the success of this partnership.”
Albertville employee and business also recognized
Awards for Employee of the Year and Employer of the Year went to Albertville High School graduate Jackson Munroe and Wendy’s in Albertville, where Munroe went to work following high school. Munroe takes the bus to the fast food restaurant where he picks up trash in the parking lot and cleans the dining room to get it ready for customers. He’s been a Wendy’s employee for five months.
“He loves it,” said Kira Gilarza, Project SEARCH instructor, in presenting the award. “It’s something he enjoys every single morning.”
Wendy’s was honored because of the restaurant’s determination to make the job work for Munroe. For example, when Munroe had difficulty handling plastic wrap, the restaurant replaced it with an easy-to-handle cover.
“They always try to find ways to work as a team,” Hanner said. “And they treat our intern as one of their team.”
At Marshall Medical the students work three 10-week rotations during the school year in the hospitals’ housekeeping departments, cafeteria, day surgery, TherapyPlus gyms, maintenance departments and information technology. They can be hired at any time during the training.
In Marshall County the program is a partnership between the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, Marshall Medical Centers, Alabama Department of Mental Health, Alabama Council of Developmental Disabilities, the state and county boards of education and ARC of Jackson County. The Marshall County school system provides a teacher and ARC provides job coaches, who stay with students until they become skilled enough to work independently.