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The spirit of Parkwest | How Project Search connected the hospital with the perfect candidate

Spencer Ingle has been working at Parkwest for the past two years.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Hospital employees have to think on their feet. That's what makes this job perfect for Spencer Ingle.

“I don’t like to stay still whenever I work. I like to move and just keep on moving," Spencer said.

He's been working at the hospital for more than two years in the material management department. He helps pull hospital supplies off the trucks, sorts them onto shelves and runs them to different floors of the hospital. He got connected with the hospital through Project Search.

"I got started with Project Search. It was something that my teacher wanted me to do. They take us to places and we do job sites and stuff like that. And we show our skills and stuff. And eventually, we get the job," Spencer said. 

Project Search is a national organization that connects people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with competitive employment. When Spencer started the program, he did internships at Parkwest Medical Center.

Spencer said he was one of the most sought-after candidates in the program. 

"After [the internship], they wanted to hire me in the linen department and then they wanted to hire me in here," Spencer said. "So I started in linens and then was transferred here." 

His supervisor, Brittany Dill, said Project Search has been a blessing for the hospital.

"We get great employees from it. And it also gives you know, these kids an opportunity to learn new trades and give them new opportunities," Dill said.

She said since Spencer started, he's become one of her top employees. He was even named employee of the month once!

"He's got a great work ethic, you know, he's always offering to help. He's always up for learning new things," Dill said.

In fact, Spencer has mastered the tasks and now helps train new members of the materials management department. 

"If there’s a new person, I take them to a floor and show them what areas are. It’s pretty fun to do that to take them to new floors and show them what to do," Spencer said.

In addition to the employment, the Project Search program brought Spencer a family.

"They helped me whenever my dad passed, and when my mom passed and helped me, like, get like all that stuff together and let me come back to work whenever I was ready and stuff," Spencer said.

Since that happened, folks in the hospital have helped Spencer secure his driver's license. Now, he's working on saving up for a car.

"He's just been a great asset to our team," Dill said. "We love having Spencer!"

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