Governor Markell visits Sussex Consortium Students that Volunteer at Beebe Healthcare in Lewes

It was quite a heart-warming day recently when Governor Jack Markell visited Beebe Healthcare in Lewes so he could meet the student volunteers from the Sussex Consortium Vocational Program and see the work that they are doing. 

Beebe Healthcare has been participating in the Sussex Consortium Vocational Program since 2009 when a handful of students came to learn job skills. Today, nearly 30 students spend time at Beebe to prepare themselves for the workplace. So far, they have contributed 18,000 hours in various positions around the hospital and other facilities. So far this year, they have contributed more than 4,000 hours.  

The students are placed in various roles within the hospital so that they have the opportunity to gain work experience. They assist in Nutritional Services, Central Supply, Environmental Services, Same Day Surgery, Human Resources, the Auxiliary Craft Group and the Beebe Thrift Shop.   

“It is wonderful to see the progress that these students are making in preparation of the next chapter in their lives,” says Lee Halloran, Volunteer Manager at Beebe Healthcare. “They have a wonderful work ethic and are hardworking and dedicated. They have become true team members and we are grateful that they are here.”  

The Governor’s visit began with an official gathering in the Medical Center’s Sunshine Café where he and the students were joined by job coaches, Medical Center department representatives and officials from both Beebe, the Consortium and Cape Henlopen School District. The students then dispersed to their work locations within the hospital where they demonstrated their tasks and responsibilities to the Governor, who chatted with several of them as they worked.  

The Sussex Consortium’s vocational program allows students age 14 and up to gain on the job training with support from Sussex Consortium staff. Pam Graves, the Sussex Consortium’s Vocational Coordinator, collaborates with many local businesses, including Beebe, to find employment and volunteer opportunities for students in the vocational program. Beebe’s Volunteer Services has a total of 600 adult and young adult volunteers that last year donated 76,000 hours to Beebe Healthcare.    

The goal of the Sussex Consortium Vocational Program is to provide students on the job training and skill acquisition that can lead to post graduation employment within the community. Each job placement is based on the needs of the student and the employer. Once a student has been placed at a site, a job coach will accompany the student to the site with transportation provided by the school. The job coach is responsible for providing instruction to the student so that the student masters the task. The Consortium’s goal is to provide a natural learning environment and assist in relationship building for the student with their fellow employees.  

The Sussex Consortium, located in the Cape Henlopen School District, is a public school program serving special needs students from Sussex County, Delaware. The school serves over 260 students through its Intensive Learning Center (ILC) classrooms, its program for early intervention services, and the Sussex County chapter of the Delaware Autism Program. Students throughout the county who are classified with autism and whose needs exceed what their home school can provide are eligible to attend the Sussex Consortium program as part of the Delaware Autism Program. Spread out across six schools in the district, students ranging in age from birth (although the youngest currently is two) to twenty-one are instructed based on their Individualized Education Programs.   

Beebe Healthcare is a not-for-profit community healthcare system with a charitable mission to encourage healthy living, prevent illness, and restore optimal health for the people residing, working, or visiting in the communities we serve. It offers services throughout Southern Delaware including a 210-licensed-bed hospital, a cancer center, and outpatient facilities at multiple sites providing lab, imaging, physical rehab services and walk-in care. For more information, please visit us online at   Caption: Governor Jack Markell visited Beebe Healthcare in Lewes to learn about the job that Sussex Consortium students are doing at the hospital.

Pictured here Gov. Markell chats with student Avante Dennis.