Both locations of Project SEARCH have set their dates for their end-of-year celebrations.
EAST Project SEARCH End-of-Year Celebration | Wednesday, May 25 | 2 p.m.
Community Hospital East (1500 North Ritter Avenue, Theatre - Lower Level, Bldg 3, follow signs)
Contact Keith at RFox@ecommunity.com for more information
North Project SEARCH End-of-Year Celebration | Thursday, May 26 | 2 p.m.
Community Hospital North (7250 Clearvista Pkway - Multiservice Room, 3rd Floor)
Contact Angie at ALeGrand@ecommunity.com for more information
Staff members work hard to create a fun and memorable celebration for their interns who have worked diligently throughout the year to get to this point. Keith Fox, Angie Hoskins and Kelly Pattison are our own Easter Seals Crossroads staff members who work at Community Hospital locations - Keith is at the East location and Angie and Kelly are at the North location. Ann Meuleman is the teacher assigned from My IPS to work at East; Jill Rusk is the teacher assigned from Lawrence Township to work at North; Mark Gifford assists as a job coach at East.
The program works in collaboration with the Center on Community Living and Careers ñ Indiana University, Community Health Network, Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. Lawrence Township (North), My IPS (East), Warren Township (East) and Easter Seals Crossroads.
What is Project SEARCH?
Submitted by Keith Fox and Angie Hoskins
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. Students are referred to the program through their schools, family members, or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and apply in the winter and spring in the year prior to entering the program.
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.
Project SEARCH serves students with significant intellectual and developmental disabilities. Typically, these are students who are on an Individual Education Program (IEP) and in their last year of high school eligibility.
Through internships, the students acquire competitive, marketable and transferable skills to enable them to apply for a related position. Students also build communication, teamwork and problem-solving skills which are important to their overall development as young workers.
Internship rotations begin a few weeks after the start of the program. Students are required to interact with their supervisors via telephone and written communications to arrange a job interview to secure each rotation. A department mentor is identified at each site and job coaches and department staff collaborate to provide support for students. The Project SEARCH staff delivers the training and develops job accommodations and standard work procedures.
Job Placement and Community Connections
During the last few months of the program the emphasis is on refining skills, achieving the career goal and carrying out individualized job placement. The Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor is a critical part of the team as the job search process begins. Upon satisfactory completion of the program (95% or better attendance, good attitude, successful skill acquisition at each job site) students receive a Career Portfolio, which typically contains a resume, letters of recommendation, a competency profile and any awards / special recognitions received while in the program.
- Project SEARCH East was the first Indiana program; it has had 71 individuals complete the program since 2008. They have received 3 international awards for job placement.
- Project SEARCH North is in its fifth year of operation and has had 51 individuals complete the program. Thirty-seven of these individuals are currently employed, which represents a 73 percent placement rate.
According to Angie
"I could tell you about 37 great stories! But one that stands out most is Susan*. She came to us three years ago a shy, young girl afraid of speaking up. Six months into the program she asked me to go with her to the Director of Maternity. I agreed but had no idea why she wanted to go see her. So we reached the Director's office and Susan marched in and said 'I think you should hire me.' The director asked Susan why she thought this and her answer was 'Because I have been here for three months and I do a good job; I like you and you like me.'
That must have been an acceptable answer because that director hired Susan! Now two years later Susan lives independently, works full time and recently had me over for a glass of wine in her new apartment! That to me shows success.
Or maybe it's when Sean* said to me 'Thank you for doing what you do, Miss Angie.' or when a director said to me 'This really works; you really make sure these individuals can be successful!' or when Pete* handed me an autism awareness pin and said 'You should wear this because you support me and my autism.' or when a parent said 'Without this program, my son would still be sitting at home.' And the list goes on . . ."
According to Keith
"Success to me is when I see individuals grow, gain maturity and increase self-esteem when they find that they can do complex jobs that are routine and structured. I know I am doing the right thing when I have the ability to change an individual's life by helping him or her succeed. It not only benefits the intern, it enriches the lives of the families, the patients, peers, colleagues, communities and me."