Health & Wellness

Overlook Medical Center Named NJ APSE Employer of the Year

MaryPat Sullivan, chief nursing officer at Overlook Medical Center (left), accepts the award from Margaret Gilbride (right), a NJ APSE board member. Credits: Atlantic Health
Overlook Medical Center is announced as the NJ APSE Employer of the Year. Credits: Atlantic Health
(Left to right): Sullivan shows off the award with Alberto Ortis, former Project SEARCH intern hired by Overlook's Patient Transport Department; and Jourdan Spencer, Project SEARCH program instructor. Credits: Atlantic Health
The first class of interns in Project SEARCH graduate at a ceremony at Overlook’s Bouras Auditorium. Credits: Atlantic Health
Eddie Torres, the first Project SEARCH intern to be hired by the hospital through this program, at work at Overlook last year. Credits: Atlantic Health

Atlantic Health System’s Overlook Medical Center received the Employer of the Year Award from the New Jersey chapter of the Association of People Supporting Employment First during the Facing the Future 26 Conference on transition and employment.

Overlook was recognized for its role as the employer host of Project SEARCH, a program that helps young adults with disabilities to gain on-the-job experience. Accepting the award for the hospital was MaryPat Sullivan, chief nursing officer at Overlook.

“Atlantic Health System and Overlook Medical Center are so very proud to accept this recognition on behalf of our relationship with Project SEARCH,” said Sullivan.

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In the project's first year, 2016-17, nine students interned at Overlook. Today, eight of these nine students remain competitively employed, and four of them are employed at Overlook.

“Our first students were not simply interns who worked here—they were quickly embraced by the rest of the Overlook team, who recognized the important skills they could contribute, and (they) became part of the Overlook family,” Sullivan said. “We are pleased to now be working with our second cohort of students, who are just as quickly becoming part of the Overlook experience.”

“Many large businesses might balk at the idea of committing to house a yearlong job skills training for students with significant disabilities inside their corporation,” said Josh Bornstein, director of special projects at Union County Educational Services Commission, the coordinating educational agency for Project SEARCH.

“By agreeing to host the first Project SEARCH program in New Jersey—and following through and hiring several interns from the first cohort—Overlook Medical Center and Atlantic Health System are making the community healthier,” he said. “Overlook has set an example for the rest of the business community. They are demonstrating how leadership and innovative support by the private sector can have a significant impact on positive employment outcomes for people with disabilities."

The Project SEARCH program model was developed at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in 1996.

The Association of People Supporting Employment First is the only national organization with an exclusive focus on integrated employment and career advancement opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

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