By Candi Castleberry-Singleton, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, UPMC

As the largest non-government employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC strives to develop the region’s workforce through various programs, including ones that focus specifically on eliminating barriers to working.

Some of these efforts include mentoring students with disabilities before graduation and assisting them with the transition from high school through the Young Leaders Academy. Our staff visits local schools and work with students on job search activities, such as creating résumés and interviewing. In addition, UPMC’s offers Project SEARCH, an international one-year high school transition program for students with disabilities, which prepares participants for competitive employment through education and work experience. By the end of both of these programs, participants are able to gain and maintain meaningful employment, lead productive lives, and become integrated into an adult work environment.

Another route to recruiting successful employees has been through our military veterans. UPMC recently joined two national military employment coalitions that assist veterans find and retain meaningful employment, including Wounded Warriors. UPMC recognizes the unique skill-sets of our veterans and the unique ways they can be leveraged in our organization.

Once inside the organization, our WorkPartners program continues to support the needs of our workforce. They offer accommodations from assistive devices to ergonomic assessments, as well as job retraining and modification for employees disabled after employment.

The UPMC Disability Resource Center reviews accessibility throughout our system and identifies ways to improve, provides interpersonal relations training and education for our professional and support staff, engages community partners, and ensures our policies regarding persons with disabilities reflect the unique challenges that face this patient population.