Mayor's Advisory Council on Disability honors Community with Employer Award for 2009
Community Health Network continues to earn honors for fostering diversity, creating opportunities and building an exceptional employee experience. The latest recognition comes from the Indianapolis Mayor’s Advisory Council on Disability, which chose Community for its 2009 Employer Award, recognizing businesses with an extraordinary commitment to promoting inclusion and providing training and career opportunities for those with disabilities.
The presentation, made July 9 as part of the city’s Access and Inclusion Awards, recognized Community’s efforts to bring Project Search to Indiana. The program at Community East, launched in 2008, provides specialized instruction and on-the-job training to Indianapolis special-education students, with the hope of helping them land jobs with Community after they leave school. “The first year we had seven students, and we hired three of the students,” CEO Bill Corley (now CEO Emeritus) told attendees. The second class of interns, just getting under way, is double the size.
Corley accepted the award along with Deb Whitfield, network director of diversity; Jill Parris, network vice president of human resources; and Anita Harden, president emeritus of Community East. Project Search, according to Harden, is a positive experience both for the students involved and the network as a whole.
Project Search has raised awareness of the talents, contributions and richness that employees with disabilities can bring to the network, she says, adding that Community teams were eager to welcome the interns into work experiences in different areas of the hospital. “Our staff has really embraced these students,” she says.
“We know that Indianapolis is successful when everyone has an opportunity to contribute,” Mayor Greg Ballard told the audience. “Inclusion is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.”
The Employer Award from the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Disability follows the January recognition of Community as the winner of the Sam H. Jones Best of the Best Award, the highest honor in the Mayor’s Celebration of Diversity Awards. Community also placed in the top 10 in the Top Workplaces rankings of large employers sponsored by The Indianapolis Star. And Community Hospital Anderson was named the best company to work for in The Herald Bulletin’s Best of Madison County recognition.
Community honored with top diversity award
Community Health Network’s efforts to promote and celebrate diversity were honored by Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard January 22, as the network took home the 2009 Sam H. Jones Award, recognizing the "Best of the Best" at the annual Mayor’s Celebration of Diversity program. The award is named in honor of the longtime Indianapolis Urban League leader who died in 2003.
A sold-out gathering of 1,200 at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown watched as CEO Bill Corley (now CEO Emeritus) took the stage to accept the award, along with Jill Parris, network vice president of human resources; Deborah Whitfield, network director of diversity; and Dan Hodgkins, vice president of health promotion and community benefit. Filling three tables at the event were about 30 Community employees, including network leaders and representatives from the Anderson and Indianapolis hospitals, Community Home Health Services and other parts of the network.
Corley says diversity is at the heart of Community Health Network’s success. "The diverse ideas and cultures absolutely have strengthened the organization and made us better, so that we are the health care employer of choice in central Indiana."
"Three words that are important as we embrace diversity as we move forward are awareness, interaction and acceptance," Whitfield adds.
The awards program included a video presentation focusing on Community’s philosophy about diversity and spotlighting some of its diversity-related initiatives, including Project Search, a program that provides training and work experience for high school students with disabilities, and the network’s Habitat for Humanity project that built two eastside homes through employees’ volunteer labor.
The video featured interviews with Corley, Parris, Whitfield, Hodgkins, and several other representatives of Community, including Anita Harden, president emeritus of Community East; Sheryl Joyner, network director of purchasing; and Yvette Franklin, patient support partner and owner of one of the Habitat for Humanity homes.
Corley credits employees for their role in creating and celebrating diversity at Community. "This absolutely was a team effort," he says, adding that the road toward a more diverse workplace is never-ending. "We’re very pleased with our performance—but we’re not satisfied. We’re continuing to strive to get even better."