ST. LOUIS - As unemployment rates make news, the unemployment rates not often talked about are of those with disabilities. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the rate of unemployment for people with disabilities is 14 percent, double that of people without disabilities.
Mercy Hospital St. Louis is one of St. Louis County’s largest employers of individuals with developmental disabilities and is being honored by Paraquad with an AccessibleSTL Shine the Light Award for having increased St. Louis' equality of access and opportunity for people with mobility, hearing, vision and cognitive disabilities.
At Mercy, we believe that everyone is made in the image of God and everyone has talents and skills,” said Jeff Johnston, president of Mercy Hospital St. Louis. “We have a strong history of supporting those with disabilities and have many programs in place for our co-workers and volunteers. We have recently set a goal to increase our co-workers with disabilities from 60 to at least 100 by 2016.”
Co-workers with disabilities work in the print shop, skilled nursing, the emergency department, pediatrics, room service, food preparation, and as transporters, unit aides, baker's assistants along with many other areas. Mercy is continuing to improve by offering programs such as the Pathway to Employment internship for high school students with disabilities, designed as a “train to hire” program; Learning and Development Center with tools to learn, grow and advance job skills; soft skill training roundtable; job coaches; supported volunteer program and more.
In addition to the AccessibleSTL Shine the Light Award, Mercy Hospital St. Louis has received numerous recognitions for its work with the disabled community, including:
- Partnership of the New Workforce
- Paraquad’s Partners in Excellence
- Governor’s Council on Disability Inclusion
- National APSE
- Starkloff Award
- Productive Living Board Employer Recognition Award