We are proudly celebrating 22 high school seniors with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities for their completion of Project SEARCH, a national school-to-work program.
Project SEARCH is a national program that provide hands-on training to students with disabilities through internships at health care facilities and other businesses with a goal of employment upon completion of the program. We operate four Project SEARCH sites across the state of Virginia: three in the Richmond area and one in Portsmouth. The three Richmond sites are in partnership with local public education systems, VCU RRTC and the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services. These partners provide funding and instructional support, as well as job coaching and supported employment services to students in the program.
“Thanks to the ongoing commitment of our partners and our graduates, this year has been outstanding,” Alissa Brooke, site coordinator at VCU Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (VCU RRTC), shares. “Each of the six graduates at Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center has already been offered employment in their areas of interest, and we look forward to following their success as they exit Project SEARCH and enter this new chapter of employment.”
Joe Wilkins, president, Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center, adds, “it is my honor to recognize and celebrate these graduates for their hard work throughout the past nine months with our Project SEARCH program. We are so proud to see them complete their internships and look forward to seeing them make their mark on the world as they enter the work force after graduation.”
At a celebration event last month, our ministry awarded certificates to six students for completion of their nine months of interning at St. Francis Medical Center (pictured above). Additional celebrations are being held in June at Bon Secours’ other Project SEARCH sites, including Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital, Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center and Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center.
Through Project SEARCH, each student is assigned to one of these hospitals and completes internships in three different departments. Teachers, teaching assistants and job coaches provide the students with direct instruction during the rotations, collaborating with hospital department supervisors.
Working with hospital supervisors and team members, the students receive hands-on skills training, including stocking supplies, filing, copying, assembling paperwork packets, making deliveries, cleaning, sanitizing equipment, turning over patient rooms and putting together supplies for the nursing units. Each student sets a goal of gaining employment by the end of the school year.
Twenty-two students are receiving diplomas during the month of May and June for the completion of Project SEARCH internships at four Bon Secours sites across Virginia this year. We are honored to have awarded a total of 228 diplomas to Project SEARCH students since 2009.