Ella Hubbard recently participated on a panel of employees with disabilities at Vanderbilt, so we asked her to share her experience with you, too.
Tell us some about yourself including your previous education and any jobs you may have had before coming to VUMC.
I did not have any jobs before Project SEARCH. I had just graduated from Currey Ingram Academy and was thinking about my future. My parents heard about Project SEARCH and thought that it sounded like a good program. So, me and my family did a tour, and I made the decision to apply for the program. I was accepted and started my employment training.
Tell us about your work at VUMC?
Now I work as an Associate Clinical Supply Specialist with Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. I stock bedside carts in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with items that nurses and doctors need when treating the NICU babies. I also stock Service Centers all throughout the Children’s Hospital.
How did you get your job at VUMC?
I got my job through Project SEARCH. I did an Internship rotation in the Central Supply Department and really loved it! My manager decided to hire me after he was able to watch me work as an Intern.
Are there challenges you face in your work because you have a disability?
Sometimes, I forget where things are located in the hospital. I have to stock specific items and my disability sometimes makes it hard to remember where things are. When this happens, I make sure to ask a coworker or my Team Lead for help. I really like my coworkers because they are always helpful and they help me find things if I forget.
What recommendations would you have for other employees with a disability at VUMC?
Make sure you find a coworker, manager, or peer that you trust. I think it is important to find these natural supports so you have someone to ask for help if you need it. I also think this is important so you can form relationships and feel like a part of the team.
Tell us more about Project SEARCH
Project SEARCH is a 9-month employment training program for individuals with Disabilities. Our program is called, “Project SEARCH at Vanderbilt University Medical Center” and it is housed at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. This program provides real-world training for adults with Disabilities by letting them work in hospital and University Departments. This program also teaches us about other adult living skills such as communication, interviewing skills, technology, self-advocacy, health and wellness, and building independence. When I was in the program, I worked in the One Hundred Oaks Pediatric Rehabilitation Clinic and with Central Supply. After working in Central Supply, I knew that I found my dream job! I showed that I was capable of performing the responsibilities, so my manager hired me! If you are interested in the program, please email the Instructor at email@example.com.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I love my job!! I’m really happy that I am working in this role, and it makes me feel like a valued member of the community and the Vanderbilt team.