The Arc

Workforce Development

Helping Youth Develop Skills on the Job Earns UMMC an "Employer of Distinction" Award from The Arc Baltimore and Baltimore Business Journal

Deanna Suggs works in the UMMC Mailroom.

Photo of Deanna Suggs

It's a great partnership: The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) needs dedicated employees who take pride in serving patients and their families. The Arc Baltimore is a nonprofit organization committed to giving people with disabilities the training and experience needed to hold a job.

In 2010, UMMC began participating in Project SEARCH, an Arc-sponsored program that provides training, education and future employment to Baltimore City Public Schools high-school students with disabilities. UMMC has since hired four of these young adults as full- or part-time staff members after they completed a transitional training program.

In recognition of this successful partnership, The Arc joined with the Baltimore Business Journal to honor UMMC with an "Employer of Distinction" award in October 2011, along with two other Baltimore-area employers.

The award was created to honor companies that have demonstrated that employing people with developmental disabilities has contributed to their company's success.

"Project SEARCH has truly been a wonderful community partner," said Jo-Ann Williams, manager of career development services at UMMC. "It's a win/win partnership."

Photo of Dominick Marshall

Dominick Marshall works in Linen Services.

Each year, eight to 10 students are selected for Project SEARCH at UMMC. During their training and transition program, they work in departments including Biomedical Equipment Distribution, Volunteer Services, Patient Transportation, Linen Services, Receiving Dock, Postal Services and Food Services. Each student participates in three 10-week internships during the school year. Students learn job-specific skills while having the chance to put them into practice and learn the broader set of skills and behaviors that employers value.

"Community partnerships like Project SEARCH are so important because of the opportunities they create," said Joanna Falcone, director of Project SEARCH Baltimore, which also includes a program at University of Maryland. "By participating in Project SEARCH, young adults with disabilities have a unique opportunity to explore careers and learn real-life work skills in the Medical Center and the university, and UMMC has the opportunity to see these young adults and their potential as employees in a new light."

Project SEARCH logo and photo of Project SEARCH member

The University of Maryland Medical Center recently was recognized by The Arc Baltimore for providing meaningful employment opportunities for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Accepting the award were (l-r) Carlos Adams, manager of receiving and postal services; John Spearman, senior vice president for external affairs and community relations; Jo-Ann Williams, manager of career development services; and Albert Johnson, director of logistics and materials management.

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