2020 MediSked Outstanding DSP Award Winner
Agency: Arc of North Carolina – Asheville, North Carolina
Length of Service: 2 years
Camden Lambert is the supported employment specialist of the Mission Health Project SEARCH program, a yearlong vocational training internship program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She annually supports between 8-12 interns through three ten-week rotations through the hospital in departments ranging from laundry and food & nutrition to surgical services and sterile processing. Through the creation of physical supports or the use of technology, consultations with managers, and engaging in continuous learning in her field, Ms. Lambert stays at the forefront of innovation in supporting the interns. After the program, she continues supporting the aspirational job development of the interns in the community. When the COVID-19 pandemic stuck, the 2019-2020 cohort was moving into its third and final ten-week internship. The final internship is the most important as the interns are placed in a department that most resembles the employment situation they would like to pursue when they graduate. Without the experience of that important internship, interns are left with an incomplete experience. On March 17th we were asked to vacate the hospital out of caution. Ms. Lambert was undeterred and worked tirelessly to create a system of individualized virtual check-ins and volunteer opportunities in the community to approximate the third internship experience for all interns. Ms. Lambert genuinely recreated ten weeks of programming on the fly and successfully found jobs for each of the interns who were in situations to obtain employment while in the middle of a worldwide health crisis. Additionally, while the program has been out of session for the summer, Ms. Lambert is supporting past interns in their return to their jobs from sheltering-in-place as they navigate new safety protocols, radically different staffing, and a new perspective on customer service. She has had a hand in helping to add over 200 hours a week into the workforce of our region.