Markell visits consortium students who volunteer at Beebe Healthcare

Gov. Jack Markell speaks with Sussex Consortium student and Beebe Healthcare volunteer Avante Dennis. SOURCE SUBMITTED
November 19, 2013

Gov. Jack Markell visited Beebe Healthcare in Lewes recently to meet the student volunteers from the Sussex Consortium Vocational Program and see the work 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. In all, 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 in the hospital so 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 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 they are here.”

The governor’s visit began with an official gathering in the Sunshine Café, where he and the students were joined by job coaches, department representatives and officials from Beebe, the Consortium and Cape Henlopen School District. The students then dispersed to their work locations in 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 who 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 in the community. Each job placement is based on the needs of the student and the employer.

The Sussex Consortium in the Cape Henlopen School District is a public school program serving special needs students from Sussex County. The school serves more than 260 students through its Intensive Learning Center classrooms, its program for early intervention services, and the Sussex County chapter of the Delaware Autism Program.

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 it serves. For more information, go to