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Honoring Employees with Disabilities: Lee Health’s Celebration

In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which takes place in October, Lee Health is devoted to highlighting the essential role individuals with disabilities play in fostering an inclusive workforce.

Lee Health prioritizes inclusivity and is committed to establishing and maintaining an environment and workplace that permits people of diverse ages, ethnicities, religious and cultural backgrounds, in addition to individuals with different skills and talents, to succeed. One example of our commitment to inclusivity is Project SEARCH.

Project SEARCH is a one-year transition program from school to work that assists highschool students with mental or developmental disabilities in acquiring and developing life and work skills vital for competitive employment. The School District of Lee County, Center for Independent Living, and Vocational Rehabilitation also provide support for Project SEARCH.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month is recognized each October to commemorate the many contributions of people with disabilities to America’s workplaces and economy. This year’s theme, 'America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion,' reflects the importance of ensuring people with disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement during the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Project SEARCH aligns with The School District of Lee County’s calendar, and the latest group of interns joined our team in August. They’re currently working at HealthPark Medical Center and Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. These students receive education through the college district and learn in regards to the “five Ps,” which include being polite, prompt, prepared, productive, and positive. During their time at Lee Health, they gain priceless experience in various areas, corresponding to Guest Services, Food and Nutrition Services, Central Supply and Sterile Processing. Additionally they fulfill service roles in patient care areas, including the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Pediatric Sedation, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Inpatient Pediatrics, Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), Endoscopy, and more. The interns acquire diverse skills to boost their versatility.

We take pride in hosting and participating within the Project SEARCH program. Empowering these students to realize priceless and transferable skills that may assist them in securing meaningful and competitive employment, in addition to achieving independence, is really rewarding.

On Saturday, Oct. 21, Lee Health is hosting a “Celebration within the Park” to honor the numerous contributions of employees with disabilities and to have fun our Project SEARCH interns. Our community is invited to enjoy music, food, and find out about local resources that aid individuals of all ages of their pursuit of a satisfying profession or assistance.

Join us and Taylor Petras, WINK News Anchor and Master of Ceremonies, on Saturday, Oct. 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Estero Community Park (9200 Corkscrew Palms Blvd.). The event will feature family-friendly activities, including trick-or-treating, face painting, blow-up obstacle courses, food trucks, and more. There will even be a Halloween Costume Contest. Attendance and participation don’t require prior registration. Nonetheless, if you happen to register your child for the Halloween Costume Contest, they’ll receive a small treat and a guaranteed spot in the competition. To register, visit leehealth.wufoo.com/forms/z1e6p057015s9m2/.

MoreLee Health: Mammograms save lives – It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month

And Lee Health: You should not alone – Recovery from substance use is feasible

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