Eskenazi Health Foundation Receives Grant from the Cummins Foundation

Feb. 28, 2020 – The Cummins Foundation has made a grant to Eskenazi Health and Eskenazi Health Foundation to expand the work of the Gregory S. Fehribach Center (GSF Center). The GSF Center provides training and support for meaningful internships for Indiana college and university students with physical disabilities, empowering them to achieve gainful, equitable and sustainable employment.

“The Gregory S. Fehribach Center is dedicated to increasing the number of college graduates with physical disabilities in the workforce and facilitating their full civic and economic inclusion,” said Ernest Vargo II, CFRE, president and CEO of the Eskenazi Health Foundation. “Eskenazi Health Foundation is exceedingly grateful to the Cummins Foundation for supporting this important endeavor that is unquestionably changing the lives of many great young people for the better.” 

The GSF Center internship program enables students with physical disabilities to build upon academic knowledge through skill development, networking and other professional competencies that translate into increased confidence and stronger resumes, collectively improving their potential in the competitive job market. Interns are compensated with market-based hourly wages and each intern works full-time for eight weeks.  In an effort to reduce the barriers that can often impede the success of an individual with physical disabilities, the program provides wraparound support, including assistive technology, ADA-compliant housing, and transportation. Following the internship, students are then assisted in finding employment with the program’s many employer partners. Program staff conduct training with education partners to describe the steps students, their families, and schools need to take to fully prepare students with disabilities for life in and beyond college.

“We are honored to partner with the Eskenazi Health Foundation and the Gregory S. Fehribach Center in their important work reducing barriers to employment for people with disabilities. At Cummins, diversity and inclusion is a core value. We hope this grant helps both employers and our community attract the best and brightest talent,” said Mark A. Smith, CFO at Cummins Inc. and the executive sponsor for its relationship with the GSF Center as well as Cummins’ global disability inclusion initiative.

Cummins aims to become an employer of choice for persons with disabilities and to eliminate employment barriers within its communities.

“Our communities are enriched and strengthened when more people have the opportunity to participate in the most fundamental building blocks of a prosperous society. Meaningful and sustainable employment should be accessible to all, including those with disabilities. The work of the Fehribach Center makes Indianapolis better,” said Mary Chandler, Vice President Community Relations and Corporate Responsibility – Cummins Inc. and CEO The Cummins Foundation.

According to the International Labor Organization, an estimated 386 million of the world’s working-age people have some kind of disability, leaving immense untapped potential in the global talent pool of people with disabilities.

“The center is dedicated to placing similar expectations and demands on interns that they may expect to see as employees in the workplace,” said Gregory S. Fehribach, vice chair of the Health & Hospital Corporation (HHC) of Marion County Board of Trustees and a member of the Eskenazi Health Foundation Board of Directors. “Our mission is to prepare them for every aspect of the working world so they may be self-sufficient, which includes understanding the compensation they earn and how to operate on a budget.”

To date, more than 90 percent of former GSF Center interns have obtained employment, enrolled in a graduate program or are continuing their undergraduate coursework, compared to the national employment rate of 19 percent for students with physical disabilities. The program has provided 125 internships since 2013, including 53 in 2019 at local employers such as Eli Lilly and Company, Lumina Foundation, Old National Bank, Pacers Sports and Entertainment, and the State of Indiana.

Contact: Tom Surber
Phone: 317.880.4793

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