Horizon Goodwill Awards Employer of the Year to Meritus Health
(Hagerstown, Maryland, May 2023) Meritus Health was named “Employer of the Year” at Horizon Goodwill Industries’ (HGI) 68th Annual Power of Work Awards. The event, held in Hagerstown on May 3, 2023, is scheduled annually to coincide with National Goodwill Week.
The Power of Work Awards recognizes HGI’s participants’ and community partners’ hard work, dedication, and mission support each year. These individuals and businesses embody the HGI Mission of Removing Barriers and Creating Opportunities for employment throughout their four-state territory.
This year, nearly 150 people were in attendance including local officials, program participants, staff, representatives from partnering organizations, and community members.
The Employer of the Year Award recognizes an employer who has demonstrated outstanding support for assisting individuals by hiring program graduates or otherwise contributing to greater outplacement of program participants through their partnering with Horizon Goodwill Industries.
Meritus Health was selected because of its community support and work connecting people with sustainable employment opportunities. A team consisting of members representing Meritus Health, HGI, and Maryland Physicians Care (MPC) developed an innovative pilot program called “Pathways to Healthcare Careers,” which places low/moderate income candidates directly into living wage positions in one of five identified divisions at Meritus with support from HGI and MPC.
In addition to partnering on this innovative employment program, Meritus Health has also worked with HGI on several other health and community development initiatives. The two organizations successfully obtained funding from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) SEED fund. The SEED Community Development Anchor Institution Fund will aid in creating a full-service grocery store operated by HGI in the Hagerstown downtown core on Prospect St. This project aims to improve community economic and health outcomes by offering affordable healthy food options in the city.
Further collaborative efforts to improve access to healthcare resulted in the award of funds from the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission’s “Pathways to Health Equity” program. This resulting project is known as the Hagerstown Health HUB. The two-year grant supports a primary care office at HGI’s downtown Hagerstown location. Meritus Health will provide a full-time nurse practitioner to staff the site. Patients will not be turned away based on insurance status; they will be seen and then connected to a healthcare navigator to assist them in obtaining health insurance.
“At Meritus, we are passionate about our community, and when we find team members who share that passion, it’s a natural fit. We’ve been so fortunate to find team members through this program who want to make a positive impact on their community,” said Dave Lehr, chief strategy officer for Meritus Health. “We’re honored to receive this award from Horizon Goodwill, but we’re even more honored to be able to share the outcomes of our initiatives that demonstrate not only the power of work but the power of working together,” he said.