Spaulding Rehabilitation Network and Partners HealthCare: Promoting and Sustaining Disability Inclusion Through Training

Partners Healthcare and Spaulding Rehabilitation Network have always been proudly committed to disability inclusion. We’ve demonstrated this though our active participation in programs such as Project SEARCH, our partnership with the MA Rehabilitation Commission (MRC), our membership in the MA Business Leadership Network (MABLN) and our service with numerous disability employment organizations. Increasing the employment rate for individuals with disabilities across our organization is a valued goal to help us mirror the patients we serve as well as to drive innovation for future patients and the community. To help us sustain and further develop our existing efforts, we were excited to offer a three-part Disability Inclusion training series specifically for our Partners Continuing Care (PCC) Human Resources and Partners HealthCare Talent Acquisition teams. Provided as part of our ‘Campus to Careers’ partnership through the National Organization on Disability and Work Without Limits, this training strengthened our employees’ knowledge and confidence around inclusion for people with disabilities at work.

Delivered in one-hour sessions, the participants learned through discussion, interactive exercises, demonstrations and case studies. The fast-paced variety of content and learning styles kept our interest and provided opportunities to practice a sometimes intimidating and what could be high-stakes topic, in a safe and supportive environment.  The areas of Disability Sensitivity, Disability Etiquette and Interviewing Candidates with Disabilities provided a toolkit of resources and hands-on experiences to develop skills and confidence for our teams.

A very encouraging and unanticipated development happened at the end of the first training when the Vice President of Human Resources for PCC inquired about offering this exact series to the full complement of managers and leaders throughout his organization.  Before the conclusion of the initial hour he had seen the value for himself, his team and for the system.

Bonnie Rivers from Work Without Limits was our lead trainer and did a great job of presenting the material in a friendly and instructive manner.  As a supplement to the course content, she provided insights, anecdotes and coaching on various hypothetical situations. Throughout the experience, the participants felt supported and comfortable to ask questions in an open and non-judgmental environment.

Feedback from our participants was consistently positive with 100% indicating all 3 trainings “met my needs” and “would recommend to my coworkers”, emphasizing how much the team was learning and how helpful the informative and material was.  We feel empowered by what we now know, are better prepared to provide comprehensive service to employees of all abilities and look forward to our managers engaging in the same experience!

Contact WWL to explore training and/or consulting options that best fit your organization’s disabilty inclusion goals!

Colleen is the Director of Workforce Programs at Spaulding Rehabilitation Network (SRN), and a Liaison with Partners HealthCare Talent Management in the areas of diversity & inclusion and university relations. Colleen has a long-standing interest in advocating for the employment for people with disabilities and participates in a variety of related boards, committees and activities in addition to leading several related initiatives in her workplace. She has presented both locally and nationally on disability and workforce development issues.