ST. LOUIS – The Governor's Council on Disability (GCD) honored Mercy Hospital St. Louis with honorable mention of the 23rd Annual Inclusion Award at its recent award ceremony.
The Inclusion Award and one Honorable Mention are presented annually to recognize private and public employers, individuals and organizations that have successfully included people with disabilities in education, employment, housing and leisure activities.
Mercy Hospital St. Louis is an area leader in promoting an inclusive work environment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Mercy’s Disability Inclusion Services program has grown its ability to hire co-workers with disabilities.
Through its Supported Employment Program, Mercy currently employs 60 people with developmental disabilities (with a goal of 100 by 2016) in a wide range of jobs. Supported Employment at Mercy offers individuals with disabilities competitive wages, comparable benefits, accessible transportation and career advancement opportunities. These co-workers have full time, on-site job coach support from area agencies who receive Mercy training, uniforms and participate in departmental meetings.
“Bringing the job coaches closer to Mercy has made a huge difference,” said Dana Nichols, manager of disability inclusion services at Mercy St. Louis. “The number of supported employees hired and retained has increased substantially.”
With its success, Mercy has received additional grant funds from St. Louis County Productive Living Board to start a Supported Volunteer Program, open a Learning and Development Center, create an interactive computer-based soft skill training program and bring disability inclusion training sessions to all co-workers.
For students with disabilities in their last year of high school, Mercy modified its on-site training program to incorporate Pathway to Emploment internships designed as a "train-to-hire" program.
Nichols added, “The variety of programs Mercy offers is intended to help more people with significant disabilities obtain and maintain employment.”
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.