The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation has awarded Eskenazi Health a grant to support an expanded internship program for students with disabilities. The award is one of 102 grants totaling more than $500,000 provided by the Reeve Foundation to nonprofit organizations nationwide that provide more opportunities, access and improved quality of life for individuals living with paralysis and their families and caregivers.
The grant will provide funding for the Eskenazi Health Expanding Internships for Students with Disabilities project, a partnership between Eskenazi Health and Ball State University’s Bowen Center for Public Affairs. The $6,000 Quality of Life grant is funded through a cooperation agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Created by the late Dana Reeve in 1999, the program has awarded 2,307 grants totaling more than $17 million.
“Eskenazi Health is proud to announce an expansion of our internship program for students with disabilities,” said Christia Hicks, vice president human resources at Eskenazi Health. “Studies have shown that the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is higher than the general unemployment rate. This program provides students with disabilities with meaningful work experiences to help them prepare for careers in diverse fields and reinforces that people with disabilities can and do make significant contributions to the nation’s workforce.”
Last year, Eskenazi Health and the Bowen Center formed the unique partnership to increase the number of internship opportunities available in Indianapolis for students with disabilities. Eskenazi Health has already had several students participate in the program, and five students have committed to the program for the 2014 summer semester.
“Even though people with disabilities have the ability and the desire to participate in our economy, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is disproportionally higher than for the general population,” said Greg Fehribach, Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County Board of Trustees member and a distinguished fellow with The Disability Project at the Bowen Center. “Many people with disabilities, particularly those who pursued college and graduate degrees, are chronically underemployed and unemployed. This partnership between Eskenazi Health and Ball State University is a step in the right direction.”