Sussex Consortium students working at Beebe Medical Center Oct. 23 had an unexpected visitor.
Gov. Jack Markell stopped in to observe students learn job skills through an exchange with Beebe.
“I've heard how fantastic this program is and what a great job you're doing,” said Markell to a roomful of students who participate in job training. “I want to thank you for letting me come down today and see all the great work you're doing.”
There are 38 consortium students participating in job training at Beebe; 21 job coaches assist them throughout the workday, said Lee Halloran, manager of volunteer services for Beebe.
The partnership began in April 2009, and since then volunteer students have logged in about 18,000 hours of training at the hospital, Halloran said.
Students work in environmental services and nutritional services where they help clean the facility or label items and stock shelves.
“Anything repetitious is really wonderful for them,” Halloran said.
Joseph Mueller and Trevon Pressley were cleaning the reception area of the hospital during Markell's visit. After Markell asked him how long it takes, Joseph told Markell it takes about two minutes.
“He's one of our fast workers,” Halloran said.
Markell told consortium and district officials about a Danish company that recently partnered with a Wilmington-based computer company. Computer Aid Inc. intends to employ 3 percent of its consultant workforce with autistic employees, according to a state of Delaware website.
Jobs include software testing, data-quality assurance, programming, data mining and data entry – jobs that require a lot of repetition and are ideal for high-functioning autistic students.
Sussex Consortium Principal Vivian Bush said the governor is going to put her in touch with the company.
“I know of one student in particular who would benefit from that kind of job,” she said. “The student is tech savvy and likes computers.”