Innovative Partnership Developed | CROTHALL HEALTHCARE & CIL

CIL staff Donna Waldron and Linda Butler (left) join Tonja Smith, Raul Lopez, Serguei Rakov, and Isaac Johnson

The Center for Independent Living of North Central Florida honored Crothall Healthcare, a member of Compass Group PLC, for being a community leader in developing employment solutions for individuals with disability.

Crothall, which manages support services at Shands at the University of Florida, has been a leader in Gainesville opening up positions for on-the-job training and employment opportunities.

Serguei Rakov was one of the people that Crothall reached out to help. After trying for several years, Rakov was discouraged that he could not find a job to support his family of four. He got his chance through an on-the-job training opportunity initiated by Isaac Johnson, Resident Regional Manager and Raul Lopez, Assistant Director of environmental services with Crothall. The State of Florida reimbursed Rakov’s wages during training, and Rakov used his talents to enhance the services provided by Crothall at Shands UF.

“You could not have picked a better person,” said Johnson. “His personality, demeanor and all around posture is refreshing. You want the job to fit the person and the person to fit the job. This is a perfect fit.”

The Center for Independent Living (CIL) is a consumer driven, private nonprofit organization headquartered in Gainesville with a history involving 30 years of community leadership by people with disabilities, for the benefit of people with disabilities. Its mission is to empower people with disabilities to exert their individual rights to live as independently as possible, make personal life choices and achieve full community inclusion

Crothall Healthcare was founded in 1991 to meet the unique needs of the health care industry. Today, they serve over 1,200 health care clients in customer-focused support services such as environmental services, patient transportation, laundry and linen services, facilities management, and clinical equipment services.

In making the award, CIL officials said individuals with disability have faced greater barriers to employment during the current economic downturn, ruling out many capable individuals who would otherwise be very productive and dedicated. Crothall is an exception to the rule, with Johnson and Lopez opening their doors to individuals with disability by identifying strengths and matching individuals with jobs; individuals who often would otherwise be facing the need to rely on government assistance programs.

Employers wishing to take advantage of on-the-job training benefits through the State of Florida can contact:  Linda Butler, Program Director at the Center for Independent Living of North Central Florida (352) 378-7474.