Disability News /KLKC
YOUTH TRANSITIONS INTO HEALTH CARE CAREERS
THE SUCCESS STORY OF MAX AT CARILION NEW RIVER VALLEY MEDICAL CENTER
From Wendy Baber, Human Resources Consultant at Carilion Clinic
“Our staff really enjoyed taking the students under their wings and felt an ownership to this program. The students have built relationships with our staff just as any other employee would, and our staff did an excellent job pulling the students into their work families. It was a great experience to see the welcome from staff and to see people step up and mentor the students.”
I would say this program has been a wonderful experience for Carilion. We have learned so much from the students and are thankful we are able to play a part in providing young people with opportunities they may not have otherwise had.”
Story about Max
In many ways, Max is an enigma. A review of his school records shows that at various times throughout his career, he had had different educational labels placed on him, the most recent being learning-disabled. Max had difficulties adjusting socially within a traditional school setting and making academic progress. At the age of 19, Max graduated from an alternative school with a special education diploma. He entered the Project SEARCH program because he had a strong desire to continue learning and work competitively.
Max’s first internship at the Carilion Clinic was in the maintenance department. Despite his shyness, Max quickly formed strong bonds and relationships with his co-workers. He respected the knowledge and experience of the skilled workers in his department, who, consequently, respected Max’s dedication to better himself and his work ethic. Max’s quest to be a good employee led him to volunteer at the hospital on weekends and snow days, when Project SEARCH was not in session.
Regretfully, at the end of the first rotation, Max had to move to his next internship. With great anxiety, he began working with the environmental services department, where his job included floor care and trash removal. Quickly, Max’s gifts and talents were recognized by the folks working in this new department. After three weeks in his second rotation, Max was hired by Carilion Clinic New River Valley as a floor care specialist, working 28 to 32 hours per week. After his first review, he received a pay increase. Due to his excellent job performance, Max was offered a full-time position with benefits last week.
More about Max from the Roanoke Times Newspaper:
CHRISTIANSBURG -- Max Holk, an 18-year-old with a disability, couldn't bring himself to learn to drive.
But when he reported to work in the maintenance department at Carilion New River Valley Medical Center in August, his job involved maneuvering a Gator construction machine, like a golf cart. A co-worker, noticing Holk's ability, brought him a drivers' manual. Holk’s studying now for the permit test.
Project SEARCH, the internship program that got Holk in the driver's seat, placed him and four other Montgomery County Public Schools students into unpaid internships at the hospital this year. It’s a joint effort among Carilion, the school system, the Virginia Department of Education, and the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services. The program exists internationally to teach students with disabilities job skills so they can then enter the work force.
It gives the students extra intangibles that come with careers, too -- colleagues as friends, stamina for an eight-hour workday, knowledge about financial responsibility and the reward of being part of a team. "If all we've done in public school is teach them how to be in school and not be part of a community, then we've really failed," said Lisa Holland, the school system's special education transition coordinator
Virginia Department of Rehabilitation Services