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Hospital recognized for hiring special-needs workers

Glendale Heights, IL – Adventist GlenOaks Hospital was one of 12 DuPage County employers recognized as an “outstanding employer” for providing challenging work for local special-needs students. Greg Hansen, the hospital’s director of food services, was honored by the DuPage Transition Planning Committee, a group composed of representatives from the local special education co-operatives, school districts, Illinois Department of Human Services-Division of Rehabilitation Services office, parents and adult service providers, at a ceremony in March.

“Providing employment opportunities to people with disabilities speaks to our mission of striving for inclusiveness and believing that every life has value,” said Adventist GlenOaks Hospital CEO Brinsley Lewis. “We also see this as a way to give back to our community.”

Every year Hansen, a St. Charles resident, employs a student with disabilities to work in the hospital’s food services area. There they wash dishes, serve food, work the registers, and participate in the food production line, cooking and assembling food. With Hansen as their mentor, students learn valuable job skills, such as how to: punch into a timeclock, wear a uniform properly, follow a list of tasks, work independently, and get along with fellow employees.

“There’s a sense of satisfaction in being able to help these kids and watch them succeed,” Hansen said.

Two graduates of the program, Don Peters and Rick Radic, have been working with Hansen for about 10 years. They work in food production, in the cafeteria and the dishroom.

Hansen was nominated for the award by Gina Groveau, a job coach at Glenbard East High School in Lombard. Hansen has employed students and alumni of Glenbard East for about 12 years.

“Greg works to accommodate the needs of all our students,” Groveau said. “And he’s very patient, always trying to find a good fit for each individual. If something doesn’t work, he’ll try something else. He never gives up on these kids.”

The recognition ceremony, the Transition Planning Committee’s fifth annual, was held March 12 at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn.

“People with disabilities are part of our community, but not all employers see it that way,” said Connie Jenner, co-chairman of the DuPage Transition Planning Committee and a transition specialist at Glenbard Township High School District 87. “This award is just a small token of our appreciation of employers like Adventist GlenOaks Hospital that open up their businesses to workers with disabilities. Greg has been an outstanding employer in that he gives first, second, third and even a 99th chance to our students. He’s a very caring person who sees potential in every young person and does everything he can to help these students be more successful on the job.”

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Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital.  To find a physician, visit www.keepingyouwell.com.