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Building Bridges at Madison Health
August 7, 2015
Madison Health has once again collaborated with the Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities (MCBDD) to bring the Bridges to Transition program to the facility.
The program is in its fifth year in Madison County, growing to support a total of 26 students in 2015. This year’s students participating at Madison Health were Isaiah Gordon, Michael Peterson-Sonstein, Kody Price and Michaela Williams.
According to the Ohio Association of County Boards, the purpose of the Bridges program is to provide real employment opportunities in an integrated setting where students can learn about what it means to work alongside of peers and other professionals so they are better prepared to enter the workforce after high school. Bridges seeks to enhance career exploration options and increase employment outcomes by developing a collaborative network of services that will assist students in achieving their employment goals.
From July 7 through August 6, students learned employment skills in various hospital departments such as Materials Management, Dietary and Environmental Services.
In the Dietary department, students were responsible for operating the dish tank, food preparation and serving as cashiers.
“We truly enjoyed having the students be a part of our team,” said Darren Renz, Dietitian and Director of Food at Nutrition Services. “The program gave our staff the opportunity to teach the students the daily operation of the kitchen. It was great to witness how well everyone worked together as a team.”
Job responsibilities in the Materials Management department included putting away stock, delivering stock, opening boxes and tagging products.
“The group of students at Madison Health was a joy to work with,” said Karen Summers, Director of Materials Management. “They were eager to learn new jobs and were very helpful. They were always asking if there was something more that could be done. The group learned the building very quickly and were able to deliver products on their own.”
In the Environmental Services department, students were in charge of collecting trash, recyclables and linens throughout the hospital. With these responsibilities, they had to work as a team and prioritize their duties based on the daily census. They also learned about infection control practices such as glove wearing, hand washing and the proper way to handle and dispose of trash and linens.
Coaches also assisted students in the work environment. Dani Dakin from Capabilities served as this year’s coach at Madison Health.
“As a coach, I help the students adapt to their job smoothly and assess each student’s performance throughout the program,” said Dakin. “The job coach caters to the students’ individual needs and ensures that they complete their assigned tasks successfully. One of the goals is to encourage the students and keep them informed of their progress; since it is something new to them, the students don’t always realize how much they improve over the course of the program, so that encouragement and feedback is crucial to their success.”
Dakin adds, "Students get to be an integral part in how organizations operate. In addition to learning the specific duties of the job, they experience the social aspects of working with coworkers and learning appropriate workplace behaviors. The Bridges program is a wonderful opportunity to expose students to certain job fields which aids them in determining future career choices."