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Workplace Training for Young Adults With Disabilities: CHOP Career Path

>>Since 2007, the Career Path Program has
been working to train and place young adults with chronic illnesses and/or disabilities,
into competitive employment positions throughout The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
These young people, between the ages of 17 and 22 have not yet attended college, or had
opportunities in their community to experience employment. The Career Path team, comprised of a vocational
counselor, job coach, social worker, and physical, occupational, and speech therapists, helps
prepare these young adults for working in the world through skills and interest exploration,
internships, group sessions, and individual coaching and support.>>Going through the Career Path, that was
good. At first I didn’t think I could do it, but then I was like, “I’m gonna give
it a shot. I’m gonna try this and see how it goes and everything.” But all the help
with Allison, and Jamie, and [unclear] and all of them really helped me get through this. And Symme their boss has helped me out too.>>Yeah, I went to one of my job coaches,
I went to Jamie. We talked, and I told her, you know, I feel like I can do better. I can,
you know, clean an office or somewhere, and I feel more comfortable doing that. And she
did. So it taught me good at the end and I just loved it after that. It just opened a
lot of doors for me, you know, at CHOP.>>The Career Path Program doesn’t just
take anyone. Individuals who are referred to the program, are evaluated and interviewed
by the team on their skills and strengths, work preparedness and challenges. Those accepted
into the program have set goals outlined and work as interns in the various departments
of the organization. They learn real-life work skills needed to maintained competitive
employment, and succeed at CHOP.>>I think one of the things that’s most
impressive about the Career Path Program and the patients that we see is that often times
the team leaders and the staff will say, “This is like really the core of OT. This is like
the essence of what occupational therapy is.” And looking at transitioning kids, young adults,
into you know, more of a pre-vocational setting. So it’s really kind of, it’s a definition
of occupational therapy.>>The goal of working with a job coach, attending
group sessions, and being actively engaged, is to help maximize the participant’s effectiveness
and independence on the job so they can successfully maintain their position.>>This is the best place to work. And I just
love what I do, I love seeing everybody, all my old nurses and everything. Because I was a
patient here a while ago. And I just love seeing everybody.>>I look up to them and they look up to me.
It felt good to be, you know, for them to depend on me to do this, and do that. And
I’m pretty sure, I know for a fact, they look for me to come here every day, five days
a week. But you know, because if I don’t, you know, I feel like I let my teammates down
you know. And that’s not what I’m here to do, I’m here to, you know, try to do
the best I can when I can do it.>>Beyond helping grow and develop program
participants, the Career Path Program has far reaching benefits seen across the organization.
The program provided opportunities for departments to explore and pilot new roles and programs
by utilizing interns. Filling opened positions with seasoned interns who are already part
of CHOP’s culture saves time and money.>>They have a different awareness of the
kinds of care that we provide here because most of them have been patients. They definitely
talk a lot about their experiences. I think they have a connection with the staff that
we, in supply chain, serve. So I think it adds a familiarity between us and the clinicians
that we work with, because they see some of their former patients down here in supply
chain. So I think that’s been really nice.>>The Career Path folks feel the buy-in that
they’re also providing a service to us, they’ll get more of meaningful experience
with us. And hopefully be able to use that in their own career path, but also in attracting
other people to follow in their footsteps.>>The dedicated effort and hard work put
forth by these employees and participants of the Career Path Program have helped to
make The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia one of the best pediatric hospitals in the
nation. And the 2012 Exemplary Employer for PA, as designated by the Department of Labor,
and industry’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. ♪♪

Cesar Sullivan

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