The Initiative for Empowerment and Economic Independence (IEEI) empowers college students with physical disabilities to find gainful, sustainable, and equitable employment by engaging qualified students with physical disabilities into comprehensive and diverse internship opportunities that build skills, confidence, and work history to maximize competitiveness in the workforce.
All interns are compensated at a fair and competitive hourly wage and each intern works full-time (40 hours/week) for eight weeks during the internship session. Sessions are offered in the spring, summer, and fall. Assistive technology (including phone headsets, accessible desks, and software packages) is provided to the interns, through this program, and some interns, who require housing, are provided ADA-compliant housing adjacent to the Eskenazi Health campus.
Students are accepted to the program because they demonstrated the work ethic, skill, and drive to pursue and obtain gainful employment following matriculation. They are representative of the untapped pool of qualified employees so often overlooked by employers. This program accepts qualified, capable students with a variety of physical disabilities.
Students participating in the internship program are provided a barrier-free opportunity to build skills in their areas of interest, enhance their resumes with practical work experience, and increase their overall confidence level in the workplace. These on-the-job skills are enhanced by interactions with Eskenazi Health leadership and community stakeholders to promote peripheral skill-building, such as networking and professional development. The goal is to match the interns with programs/departments that align with their academic pursuits, interests, and/or career goals.
Another primary goal of the program is to impact attitudes and culture in the workplace – to break through hesitancies and misconceptions that staff may have about supervising or working alongside persons with disabilities, and to foster an inclusive environment of acceptance, respect, and understanding.
Eskenazi Health remains committed to: becoming a leader in the employment and advancement of individuals with disabilities; providing opportunities for personal and professional growth for young adults with physical disabilities; establishing an integrated culture where co-workers achieve success together in an inclusive and accommodating environment; and establishing a national standard for the recruitment of qualified individuals with disabilities into the workforce.
In the fall of 2017, IEEI was highlighted in the National Council on Disability’s Progress Report. That report can be viewed here.
To donate to the Eskenazi Health IEEI program, please click here.
The Initiative for Empowerment and Economic Independence at Eskenazi Health was made possible, in part, by generous support from Lilly Endowment, Inc.