Partnership helps high-schoolers with disabilities find work
“Legacy Health was looking for a strong community partner to engage in a goal of increasing employment for people with disabilities,” said Vicki Owen. Owen works in Legacy Health’s Human Resources Department. “The Youth Transition Program has proven to be that partner for the last eight years.”
The Youth Transition Program is funded by the State of Oregon’s Vocational Rehabilitation (YTP). The YTP specialists work out of schools and have strong connections with their local vocational rehabilitation counselors and help students obtain competitive, integrated employment.
Legacy Health has a YTP pipeline and has placed students like Leslie Menendez-Meneses who has worked in Legacy Emanuel’s Nutrition Services for two years. “I don’t know what I would have done without YTP who helped me get my job at Legacy,” says Menendez-Meneses. “A YTP specialist came to my high school and told us about opportunities. I didn’t know I could apply to jobs at a hospital." Menendez-Meneses lives with her mom and the job helps with household expenses for now but she hopes to go to college one day.
“The YTP specialist doesn’t just place a student. They also work with the student and the new employer to be successful,” said Peter FitzGerald, one of five regional YTP technical assistance coordinators supporting YTP staff in 184 high schools throughout Oregon. “We made a pitch to Legacy that if we really understood the setting demands for the positions, we thought we would be able to provide Legacy with a reliable workforce of young people with disabilities,” Peter said.
Tressa Graham, Supervisor of nutrition Services at Legacy Emanuel said the students hired may not have been selected through Legacy’s normal processes because of limited experience. “Having this program has allowed us to look at candidates that we might not have previously.”
“These kids have a pretty good support system, including their parents, YTP and our managers,” said Colleen Peters, Nutrition Services manager at Legacy Emanuel Hospital Medical Center in Portland. “The youth are in a transitional phase of their life and that support is important.”
Does Menendez-Meneses recommend YTP? “Yes, of course! They are there to encourage you to do something you enjoy and can do. They really listen to you, advise you and show you a way to do it.”
For more information on the Youth Transition Program, contact Peter FiztGerald, 503-522-6973 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or click https://ytp.uoregon.edu/
Legacy Emanuel public relations: Vicki Guinn, email@example.com, 503-413-2939
Photo: Vicki Guinn