Indianapolis, July 23, 2020 – Eskenazi Health is pleased to commemorate the yearlong 30th anniversary of the historic Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that broke down a wall of exclusion and offered opportunity to millions of Americans.

 Signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush, the ADA went into effect in 1992 and is a landmark piece of civil rights legislation that works to increase the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life, including employment.

“Eskenazi Health is proud to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which provides people with disabilities an opportunity to participate in the world in which they live,” said Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO of Eskenazi Health. “We are always looking for ways to better accommodate those with disabilities at Eskenazi Health, and the Gregory S. Fehribach Center creates opportunities for college students with physical disabilities and promotes the culture of diversity and inclusion that is important to us at Eskenazi Health as well as to our broader community.”

The Gregory S. Fehribach Center empowers Indiana college students with physical disabilities to find gainful, sustainable and equitable employment by engaging qualified students in comprehensive and diverse internship opportunities that build skills, confidence and work history to maximize competitiveness in the workforce. Students participating in the internship program build skills in their areas of interest, enhance their résumés with practical work experience and increase their overall confidence levels in the workplace. The goal of the Gregory S. Fehribach Center is to assist students in being better prepared for full-time employment after graduation.

The Gregory S. Fehribach Center offers eight-week internships in the summer, fall and spring, and the program has continued this summer despite most interns working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These are paid, full-time internships in fields related to the student’s major, with housing and transportation assistance offered when needed. Interns are matched with programs/departments both throughout Eskenazi Health and at employer partners throughout Central Indiana that align with their academic pursuits, interests and/or career goals.

“The spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act served as an inspiration when we created this highly-effective initiative that provides college students with an incredible jump-start for their careers,” Fehribach said. “The real-world experiences students with physical disabilities receive through these internships is invaluable as they go out in the world and successfully pursue their life goals both personally and professionally.”

The enactment of ADA and Fehribach’s personal experiences served as the impetus for establishing the Fehribach Center for college students with physical disabilities. Through his own internship experience in his time at Ball State University, he gained crucial skills in both the area of work his internship was in and learning to navigate the workplace with a physical disability. A few years later, Governor Evan Bayh appointed Fehribach as the chairman for the Indiana Governor’s Planning Council for People with Disabilities. He was working as a lawyer at the time and was told to go to Washington, D.C. to represent Indiana at the signing of the American with Disabilities Act in 1990.

Created in 2013 as a partnership between Eskenazi Health and Ball State University, the Gregory S. Fehribach Center has broadened to include additional postsecondary institutions and employers. -Through the summer of 2020, 100 students from 29 colleges and universities have received internships through the center. While Eskenazi Health has hosted the majority of students, other employers such as BraunAbility, Christel House International, Conexus, Eli Lilly and Company, Health and Science Innovations, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, and the State of Indiana, have also hosted interns.

Former intern Preston Radke explained how the Fehribach Center helped him choose what kind of a work environment he wanted to be a part of. Upon completing two different communications-related internships with the center, he had experience with both working for a large-scale company, Eskenazi Health, and a smaller advertising agency. “Without these experiences, I would not have been able to learn what I wanted in a future career, let alone achieve it,” Preston shared.

An alumnus of Ball State University, Fehribach is a former university trustee who now serves as a Distinguished Fellow in the Office of Institutional Diversity. An attorney in private practice for the past 32 years, he promotes economic independence using entrepreneurial principles, thereby supporting the fundamental right of equality. He is currently serving a four-year term as a presidential appointee to the United States Access Board, which creates universal design standards and guidelines for barrier removal and access for people with disabilities. Under Fehribach's legal counsel, the City of Indianapolis and many of its renowned amenities rank highly for accessibility in the United States.

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CONTACT: Tom Surber
Phone: 317.880.4793
Cell: 317.402.9327
Email: thomas.surber@eskenazihealth.edu

 

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