URMC Environmental Services Honored by ARC of Monroe County

June 16, 2011

Lidia Kuntz and Scott Malloy are now working full time for the Medical Center's Department of Environmental Services.

The Department of Environmental Services at the University of Rochester Medical Center was honored Thursday with the ARC of Monroe County Business Partnership of the Year Award for its contributions to the lives of people with developmental disabilities. The award was presented at the ARC of Monroe County’s annual meeting.

For the past two years, the department has collaborated with the ARC of Monroe County’s Job Path employment program, as well as the URMC Department of Pediatric’s Project SEARCH, providing a unique job environment for both adults and younger individuals with developmental disabilities. Fourteen individuals have been placed in the department through the two programs, and eight have been permanently hired as Environmental Services staff.

“We are thrilled to be recognized for our involvement with the ARC of Monroe County's Job Path and our university’s own Project SEARCH,” said Larry Weidner, director of URMC Environmental Services. Through these collaborations, URMC continues to develop a greater understanding of the capabilities of individuals with disabilities, he said.

Deborah Humphrey, staff development coordinator for the Department of Environmental Services, and Tanya Henry, operations manager, coordinate the job programs for the Department of Environmental Services.

“These programs provide an opportunity for both the participants and our own employees to learn from one another, and in many cases we place the individual in a permanent position,” Henry said.

Humphrey points out that the approach has been to look at each individual’s unique strengths and pair them with work that will result in their own personal success, as well as a benefit to the institution.

Project SEARCH is coordinated by the University of Rochester’s Institute for Innovative Transition at Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities, which is funded by a grant from the Golisano Foundation. The ARC of Monroe County partners with the program, providing job coaches. It is a one-year high school transition program for students with disabilities that offers students workplace immersion in their last year of high school. They participate in a combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and on-the-job training and support through internships or worksite rotations, such as opportunities offered through the URMC Department of Environmental Services. The goal for each student participant is competitive employment.

The ARC of Monroe County’s Job Path program has been providing individualized job placement services for students and adults with intellectual disabilities in Monroe County for more than 30 years. The program works with more than 350 individuals annually and more than 200 employers throughout the community. Job Path’s successful relationship with URMC evolved from the collective efforts with Project SEARCH dating back to 2009. Over the past two years there have been hires in the URMC departments of Audiology and Immunology, Patient Accounts, and Food and Nutrition, in addition to URMC Environmental Services.

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Karin Christensen
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