Project SEARCH Graduates Seven Student Interns
On Tuesday, May 28th, seven student interns graduated from the Parma City School District’s Project SEARCH Career & Technical Program at our partners University Hospital’s Parma Medical Center.
The Project SEARCH High School Transition Program is a unique, business-led, one-year, school-to-work program that takes place entirely at the workplace. Total workplace immersion facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and relevant job-skills training through strategically designed internships.
The goal for each student participant is competitive employment. The program provides real-life work experience combined with training in employability and independent living skills to help youths with significant disabilities make successful transitions from school to productive adult life. The Project SEARCH model involves an extensive period of training and career exploration, innovative adaptations, long-term job coaching, and continuous feedback from teachers, job coaches, and employers. As a result, at the completion of the training program, students with significant intellectual disabilities are employed in nontraditional, complex and rewarding jobs. The presence of a Project SEARCH High School Transition Program can bring about long-term changes in the business culture that have far-reaching positive effects on attitudes about hiring people with disabilities and the range of jobs in which they can be successful.
Worldwide, there are 500 PS High School Transition Sites, the majority in the United States. An estimated 3500 young people with disabilities are being served. Along with a skills trainer, the program provides job skills training and instruction in a program that started here in 2010. Our student interns work for 10 weeks (5 hours per day) in three different departments during the school year. Each intern has completed nearly 800 hours of service to the hospital. Skills they learn here are not just applicable in the health care setting but transfer well into community jobs. They have not only spent time on the job, but they have been in the classroom where they are instructed on how to fill out applications, develop resumes, and display a positive work ethic We talk about the importance of being dependable, honest, well-groomed, and professional at work and how these traits make us valuable to employers. We look forward to welcoming nine new student interns this fall. It will be the 10-year anniversary of the program here at University Hospitals Parma Medical Center.
Jeff Nahra, Instructor - Project SEARCH Parma City School District