AdventHealth Redmond has partnered with Floyd County Schools for their Project SEARCH program for seven years to help students with disabilities prepare for successful employment in the community. The hospital recently held a graduation ceremony for the Project SEARCH student interns to celebrate their accomplishments and completion of the program.
Project SEARCH is a national program modeled on a unique work transition program that partners with a local business to place student interns entirely in the workplace for the full school year. During this time, student interns participate in on-site classroom instruction as well as hands-on training through department job rotations within the business.
“Research into transition practices shows that when educators, students, families, and community partners work together, post-secondary outcomes improve dramatically for students with disabilities. We’ve seen this firsthand,” said Susan Baker, Director of Special Education for Floyd County Schools. “AdventHealth Redmond has been so supportive of Project Search and helped us transition students from school into the community and workforce.”
At AdventHealth Redmond, the Project SEARCH student interns had a dedicated classroom space on the hospital campus for instruction, career exploration and training. The interns also rotated through various hospital departments to develop job skills. Each intern interacted with the department leader and their department mentor to learn and practice their new skills. This year’s interns rotated through nutritional services, environmental services, materials management/supply chain and the laboratory.
“One of my favorite things that we do at the hospital is Project Search. I asked them to do something, and they went way above and beyond what was asked of them. She (Aliyah) has such a great work ethic, and she cleaned and straightened files for me. She was just engaged and happy to do what we needed for her to do,” said Susan Webb, director of cardiopulmonary PCU at AdventHealth Redmond served as a mentor for graduate Aliyah Wright.
At the graduation ceremony, student speakers shared how they grew over the school year and how much they learned through the program. Family, friends, Floyd County School staff, Superintendent Dr. Glenn White, Project SEARCH instructional coordinator Debra Miller, Director of Special Education Susan Baker, hospital team members and Isaac Sendros, president and CEO of AdventHealth Redmond, were also in attendance.
“I learned a lot about myself through Project SEARCH, and I know there’s still much to learn. I feel like through this experience, I have become more responsible, through many toils and troubles. You all have made me certain, without a doubt, that I want to work in the medical field one day,” said Lucas Abernathy, a graduating student intern.
“I feel that I have truly grown and matured. Last Friday, I completed my last day of my internship. I am so proud of everything I have accomplished, both here in the hospital and in life. It feels good that I have come this far,” said Aaliyah Wright, a graduating student intern.
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