SPARTANBURG — Job skills and a work ethic can’t be learned in a textbook.
Gloria Graves was part of a vision to help high school students with developmental disabilities to learn important work and life skills through a special internship program, Project SEARCH, with Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS). Project SEARCH is a program that provides education and employment opportunities for students with developmental disabilities.
For her work in these efforts, Graves was named Advocate of the Year by the South Carolina Association for Career and Technical Education (SCACTE) at their annual Education and Business Summit held in Greenville S.C., June 21-25.
As student program coordinator for SRHS, Graves was the liaison for Project SEARCH and helped bring seven students to the hospital for classroom study and internships, all of whom graduated with jobs.
“The interns in this program have changed the culture of our hospital and dispelled misconceptions about individuals with disabilities,” Graves said. “It has been amazing to watch their transformation into working adults.”
Along with Project SEARCH, Graves works with many students from Upstate high schools and universities who are exploring careers in healthcare.
“J. F. Byrnes High School has been privileged to have the professionalism of Mrs. Gloria Graves who is the Student Program Coordinator at Spartanburg Medical Center,” said Rubye Calhoun, GCDF, assistant director of career development at J. F. Byrnes High School. “She truly believes in education, especially when it deals with healthcare. She has always been a great advocate for our students who were interested in healthcare careers. Whatever it has taken, she has done.”
As one of the largest employers in Spartanburg County, SRHS is committed to helping students explore career opportunities in healthcare through shadowing opportunities, clinical observations, participation in career days, and through Project SEARCH, the first high school transition program for students with intellectual disabilities in SC.
The SCACTE Champion Advocate of the Year award goes to individuals or entities that have excelled in their contribution to the improvement, promotion, development and progress of Career and Technology Education.
About Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS) offers a full spectrum of services through four hospitals: Spartanburg Medical Center, Pelham Medical Center, Spartanburg Hospital for Restorative Care and Union Medical Center. SRHS also includes Ellen Sagar Nursing Center, 113-bed long-term care, skilled nursing facility that offers nursing care and rehabilitation services. SRHS provides unparalleled oncological care through the Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute. The multidisciplinary Medical Group of the Carolinas has more than 300 physicians across seven counties in two states. SRHS employs nearly 6,000 associates and offers outpatient surgery centers, a vibrant post-acute division, a Level I Trauma Center, and Advicare, a licensed Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). Advicare provides Medicaid services to residents throughout the state of South Carolina. U.S. News and World Report ranked Spartanburg Medical Center the No. 1 regional hospital in South Carolina in 2014-15. The Commission on Cancer gave Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute its Outstanding Achievement Award.
This story was submitted by Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.