UMass Memorial Provides Internships Leading to Careers for People with Disabilities

UMass Memorial Provides Internships Leading to Careers for People with Disabilities
Monday, November 27, 2017
Man in lab coat and two nurses looking at computer screen

Authors: Marcia Bowles of UMass Memorial Medical Center and Sarah Loizeaux of Massachusetts Commission for the Blind

UMass Memorial Medical Center (UMMMC), in partnership with Workforce Central, is participating in a program to train individuals with disabilities for work in Patient Access Services. These individuals have completed a course at Quinsigamond Community College, which prepares students to handle patient encounters, patient customer service and other areas related to intake and the coordination of a patient’s healthcare experience.UMass Building and Logo They work in an internship capacity at UMMMC for 8 weeks, 15 hours per week learning various aspects of the patient access services role.  Workforce Central pays the interns with resources from a federal grant, the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI), which is designed to give persons with disabilities the opportunity to enter a path that can lead to a successful career. The interns that have worked at UMMMC may have had little to no medical or administrative experience when they started, but nearly all have come out successfully employed.     

Twelve individuals have been placed in internships at UMMMC with one hired into a permanent position, two into temporary positions, and others were able to quickly find full time employment elsewhere.   

One manager described the intern program as, “A great experience for both the interns and our department.  A solid learning opportunity for them and a big help to us.” 

Workforce Central Career Center Logo

Emma, an intern who was recently placed in a temporary position with UMMMC stated that her internship “…was what [she] needed to change careers.  [She is] so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn new skills and start working again!”

Sandra is another intern who is now working full time after years out of the workforce because of her disability.  She stated that her time at UMMMC was “invaluable” and she “was able to do something [she] never thought before [she] would be able to do.”

The combination of classroom training and real-world experience has allowed the interns to achieve goals that were once thought to be unattainable.  These participants became fully qualified and able to enter into positions related to Patient Access and Registration.   

DEI Disability Employment Initiative Logo

Work Without Limits is a partner in the DEI grants in MA, providing training and consulting services to participating one stop career centers. For more information on the MA DEI grants please:

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For national information regarding the DEI program please:

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Marcia Bowles is a HR professional with over 25 years of experience at UMass Memorial Medical Center.  Marcia manages outreach to schools and universities, community groups and state agencies to create pipelines for talent, including individuals with disabilities, veterans and the general public.  She also manages a college internship program for undergraduate and graduate students as well as the “Building Brighter Futures” program for disadvantaged high school students in Worcester Public Schools. 

Sarah Loizeaux is the former Disability Resource Coordinator at Workforce Central Career Center in Worcester, MA and is now a rehabilitation counselor with the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.  Sarah has a BA in Sociology from Northern Illinois University and a MA in Rehabilitation Counseling from Assumption College.  Sarah provides guidance for persons facing multiple barriers to embarking on a career path, is passionate about helping people realize their full potential as well as increasing access within the workforce development system.