Employer Partner Spotlight
By Meme Romano. Reprinted with permission from the Lurie Children’s Hospital Employee Newsletter
Jamian Gayden, 19, who has asthma and Asperger’s syndrome, has spent most of his life as a patient at Lurie Children’s. However this summer, he worked as a paid intern in the hospital’s Audio Visual department.
Gayden was one of eight Lurie Children’s patients who participated in the SAILS Work Experience Program. This newly-created internship program is a result of a partnership between Supporting Adolescents with Independent Life Skills (SAILS), an established hospital program created to help teens with chronic medical conditions transition from Lurie Children’s to adult care, and Jewish Vocational Service (JVS), a non-profit organization that provides career coaching guidance, job training and crucial support to more than 8,000 people annually.
“JVS works to create a positive work environment for teenagers with medical conditions and disabilities,” says Jamie Sandberg, JVS Youth Employment Coordinator. “We collaborated with Lurie Children’s Chronic Illness Transition team and Workforce Development group to develop the program and then spent time at the hospital making sure the interns were comfortable in their positions, and were gaining valuable work experience to help them down the road.”
“We are fortunate to have created this partnership with JVS, an organization that is invested in the future of our patients with chronic illness,” says Rebecca Boudos, LCSW, Social Worker for Spina Bifida and Transition Specialist at Lurie Children’s.Gayden was a part of the first internship session (April to June) and is continuing on with the internship’s second session this July to September at a new location.
“My internship at the hospital was invaluable. I gained real world, professional experience. It was very hands-on working on various projects such as setting up systems in the conference rooms, video and photo editing and photography,” says Gayden, who attends Columbia College. “I have decided that I would like to transfer majors from Audio Acoustics to Audiology, and this internship with SAILS has really helped me make that decision to find a career path that I would like to pursue in the future.”
A new cohort of interns will be selected to participate in the program this fall and then again in the spring. JVS also works with participants that completed the first round of the SAILS Work Experience Program to help them gain additional work experience and education. The ultimate goal of the partnership is to help our youth become independent and successful in the workplace and community.