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Students with Disabilities Join New Transition to Work Program

By: | Tags: | Comments: 0 | August 11th, 2017

Project Search Partnership Begins in Calhoun County
Students with Disabilities Transition from School to Work through Community Agency Partnership Whle Gaining Employability Skills

ANNISTON, AL (August 2, 2017) — On Monday, August 7, 2017, Regional Medical Center (RMC) in Anniston welcomed their first cohort of student interns participating in the Project SEARCH program. Project SEARCH is a program that provides students with disabilities with a one-year skill building experience that combines classroom instruction, career exploration, and hands-on training.

Project SEARCH empowers young adults to be successful in work and in life upon completion of their internship requirements. The program is a school-to-work transition program for students with disabilities. The program began in 1996 at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in Ohio. Since that time, the program has grown to over 300 sites across the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, and Australia. RMC Anniston’s local Project SEARCH program is coordinated by Calhoun County Schools, hosted at Regional Medical Center and supported by the Opportunity Center, the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, Alabama Department of Education, Alabama Department of Mental Health,and the Alabama Council on Developmental Disabilities. Together , these agencies have created a one-year immersion experience that combines classroom instruction, career exploration and hands-on training through worksite rotations at RMC.

The goal for each student intern upon completion of Project Search is competitive employment. Project SEARCH provides real-life work experience combined with training in employability and independent living skills to help young adults with significant disabilities make a successful transition from school to a productive adult life.

“RMC is much more than just a health system,” said Louis Bass, RMC CEO. “Our mission is to help all residents in Calhoun County. By partnering with vital organizations like Project Search we support students and outstanding young people as they prepare for the next chapter of their lives and provide important contributions to society and our community.”

The Project SEARCH model involves an extensive period of training and career exploration, innovation adaptations, long-term job coaching and d continuous feedback from teachers, job coaches, and employers . As a result at the completion of the training student interns with sintellectual djsabilities are ready to become employed in nontraditional, complex and rewarding jobs.

To qualify, student interns apply to be a part of the program during their previous, senior school year. They must pass a skills assessment evaluation and be interviewed as part of the acceptance process. Once accepted into the program, student interns report to RMC in Anniston instead of their home school district classroom for the entire school year. Student interns rotate through a number of job assignments throughout hospital departments . This year in Calhoun County there are 12 student interns participating in Project SEARCH. The average Project SEARCH Program accepts 10-12 student interns annually.

To apply students with disabilities interested in becoming a student intern through Project SEARCH should contact a student support services teacher at their local school or the school district’s student support services office. For additional program information, please visit: www.projectsearch. us.

For more information or to set up a press interviews please contact: Kate Van Meter, 256-235-5289 (office) or KVanMeter@rmccares.org.

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