Since 2013, Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center has been proud to partner with Project SEARCH. This national school-to-work program provides hands-on training to students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities through hospital internships, with the end goal of the opportunity being employment upon completion.
Project SEARCH has been so successful at Maryview Medical Center over the years that the program is now transitioning to another site next year. This month, Maryview leaders and team members joined together to celebrate the graduation of their final Project SEARCH class, which consisted of three students from Southeastern Cooperative Educational Programs (pictured above).
“Celebrating the completion of the Project SEARCH program at Maryview is a bittersweet time for us,” said Kate Brinn, president of Maryview Medical Center, shares. “It’s a good problem to have that we no longer have open positions that we can fill with interns because we’ve hired so many on full time over the years. However, we learn just as much from our interns as they learn from us. Everyone in the hospital has been touched by their hard work and kindness in some way over the years. We will miss having them as part of our team at Maryview.”
Over the past nine years, a total of 46 students have graduated from the Project SEARCH program at Maryview Medical Center. Currently, 12 graduates of this program remain employed at the hospital in various departments including in nursing units, information systems, sterile processing and environmental services.
During the Project SEARCH program, teachers, teaching assistants and job coaches provide the students with direct instruction during nine-month internship rotations, collaborating with hospital department supervisors. Working with hospital supervisors and team members, the students receive hands-on skills training. This includes 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. This final year, two of the graduates have been brought on full-time in Maryview’s environmental services department while the third graduate will seek employment in his local community.
“Each year, we see incredible growth in these Project SEARCH graduates,” Kate adds. “It’s a privilege to foster and be a part of that growth. We are so proud of the commitment and dedication displayed by these graduates and are thrilled that two of them have joined us on full time, so we don’t have to say goodbye.”
Our ministry operates four Project SEARCH sites across the state: one in Portsmouth, Va. and three in the Richmond, Va. area. This year, a total of 22 students are receiving diplomas for the completion of their Project SEARCH internships at our sites across Virginia.
Overall, we are honored to have awarded a total of 228 diplomas to Project SEARCH students since 2009.