Project Search: New Pathways for Young Adults with Disabilities

Project Search: New Pathways for Young Adults with Disabilities

Every day at every hospital in the country,
there is so much work to be done. Every room must be stocked with the essential
items that ensure every patient has what he or she needs to be comfortable,
to recover in a clean environment, and to ensure that every instrument used
in the surgical process is perfectly sterile. This is essential to the work of doctors, nurses and therapists. It is the work of some capable and highly dedicated
young people who are learning skills and are headed toward a brighter future. This is the work of Project Search. Project Search is a one-year high school
transition program that provides skills training and internship opportunities
for young adults with disabilities between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two. People like Ashley. I love working here. This is number one beautiful hospital in America. So did you find the pillow cases? Nurse Frances gave it to me. As Ashley prepares a maternity room in a hospital
with guidance from her Project Search instructor Jim Kiefer, she is doing so with her entire routine memorized. And the last thing on the list is the pink bedpan. She knows what needs to be placed where. She keeps a tight schedule whether it’s making packets for new moms or stocking supplies for patients in their rooms. This high school student has already gained important
work skills during her first internships. Have you learned anything about yourself in doing the work here? I learned how to be more mature and
take more responsibility into my hands. With Ashley, we noticed that she has a very
outgoing personality, a good work ethic. She tries her best. And those are some qualities that we really look for in our students. Ashley’s work in Project Search is part of a collaborative
effort to increase the employment outcomes of youth with significant disabilities. Project Search, originally founded by Erin Riehle
at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital blends the local resources of businesses, school systems
and rehabilitation services to create a win-win situation for all. The program matches student strengths and interests
to three internship opportunities in the business. For Kyle, that means using his mathematical skills
to ensure nurses have all the stocked items next to the nursing station,
ready at a moment’s notice. He’s in charge of stocking all the patient supplies so without him, the patients wouldn’t have any supplies at all. He definitely loves to be important. It’s very important to him that the work he’s doing is important
so he’s definitely doing a good job. And he’s very mathematically minded so it’s easy
for him to count the inventory. He really enjoys that type of work. For Renal, that means ensuring surgical instruments are
thoroughly cleaned before they’re sterilized. Damien now works in the main pharmacy where medications
are placed and replaced before they expire. Annie secured her job in the maternity ward
where newborns and their parents are ensured clean services wherever they go. Chris didn’t take long to catch on
to his responsibilities as an intern. His work and his capabilities earned him a job in
the durable, medical equipment unit where he thoroughly cleans the infant isolets
and other medical equipment. No concerns at all with Chris. Chris caught on real fast.
He’s a quick learner. We have good trainers here that worked with him diligently
throughout his process in the beginning. Chris was actually independently working
on his own within two weeks. His enthusiasm, his willingness to work. He’s on time. Interested students like Annie and Chris
completed an application and interviewed for the program through their local school system. The hospital can offer a student intern a job
at any point during the school year or upon graduation. By doing this program, we hope that they get the job skills. Things such as time management, staying on task,
work pace, things of that nature. That they can learn those skills and then
we can apply it in a practical setting. Why are we here? To learn job skills! Who are we? Project Search interns! World class! The people who are guiding these students
understand this is a tremendous opportunity for the schools, the businesses, the students,
and their families. An opportunity to both develop valued work skills
and to open doors for jobs in the community. I think that it’s sort of changed some attitudes about people
who have significant disabilities, including myself. I’ve been doing this for twenty years and
some of the things that Renal is doing, I didn’t even expect him to be able to do
and he fooled me in how quickly he learned how to do some of the higher
skilled things that are here. Those kind of surprises are popping up
in hospitals across Virginia. Annie came in as an intern and surprised everyone with
an extraordinary growth and maturity, a sense of responsibility and an ability to,
at long last, connect with people. When Annie first came to us,
she wouldn’t speak to us. She wouldn’t look us in the eye. And now she’s playing with us. She’ll sing songs with us in the hallway. She works alongside of us and will do
extra things as we need her to. So to see that progression in her has really just given
the staff a sense of warmth and hope. She’s grown up so much. She’s taken on adulthood. Which is tough for any young adult,
whether they have disabilities or not. She really has taken her life on and
is working hard to be a good employee. It’s just very important to her. A significant part of the success of Project Search
is the training students receive. Representatives of the local school system
and job coaches work with the students to ensure they understand their tasks and
learn how to perform them with competence. So I want you to pay attention to that word “solution”. It’s in the skills steps for asking questions
on the job sight, ok? So when I look at a job, I dissect that job into small parts and then I take pictures of those steps and then use those pictures to train students. I may keep the pictures on a sheet in front of them
so they have a cheat sheet so they can remember how to do things. Eventually, what I do then as they learn is remove the pictures or anything that they don’t really need. It was just a teaching tool at the time to help them. The job coaches they have with this project
are some of the finest people I have ever met. As a parent of a young adult with a disability, Tericia Levitt jumped at this chance for her daughter. She understands all too well the reality
of her daughter’s opportunities. There are so few opportunities available
to young adults with disabilites when they leave school. It’s an ugly world out there and this was an opportunity that
just looked too good to be true. It has turned out to be absolutely,
even more then what I thought it could be. And with those opportunities in place,
these students shine. They do their jobs, often times with real precision,
adding a new level of quality to hospital operations. These students are eliminating long held
stereotypes about people with disabilities and instead opening the minds of
their colleagues to their abilities. It provides a sense of community to them. They’re able to surround someone
who is able to help the team out. We have a unique opportunity
here to help these interns learn job skills to develop to
go out into the real world. And I think they have a sense of pride in being able to help impact them and train them
before they go out into the real world. Collaboration creates opportunities. Graduates of Project Search are now
contributors to our economy. I think it definitely requires them to put a little effort
into what they’re doing and same thing for us. We have a better training program.
We spend more time with them. And I think it’s easier for them to
transition into a full-time job. So absolutely, it’s a win for both of us. Welcome to our second annual Project Search
celebration and completion ceremony. We’re so thrilled to have all of you here in attendance. This is most certainly the case with so many
of these students and their families. In a touching ceremony at one Project Search site,
these young people are graduating from Project Search with a light in their eyes and the kind of self-esteem
that will move them forward to greater opportunities. The Project Search interns have been a wonderful part
of our community this year. They continued to help us learn and grow. The impact they’ve made on our departments has really been immeasurable. They bring a vitality, a commitment. They’re always willing to learn new things. Thank you. Thank you to the young people who are doing
a tremendous service to the community. You are the epitome,
you are the ideal of what we want to accomplish in our public schools. So I thank you for the job that you are doing. It is truly a job well done. I learned how to challenge myself. I learned different, new skills every day. Too often we get trapped up in the disabilities
and you underscore the fact that if we focus on abilities,
we’re all better off for that. For every one of these productive citizens, our businesses improve their service. The people around them see
people with disabilties differently. Our communities see their real value
and the people who love them most, at long last, can see a future
for their son or their daughter. This is an exceptional program and it’s working.


  • Friar Francis says:

    This is sensational!ย 

  • Angela Arseneau says:

    I am a current project SEARCH student in Washington state I love this program it is amazing

  • Nathan Stocker says:

    good luck from the City of Plymouth uk

  • Angel Virgen says:

    Wow! So proud of everyone here! Amazing Job!

  • Jenna says:

    There just cleaning up for them this is bullshit

  • Alice Connolley says:

    Lok3 threse vedopd

  • Jen Wall says:

    I agree!

  • Jen Wall says:

    I agree wit that. I am disabled. I have special needs as well. I would benefit by getting proper training before going to work anywhere in the community.

  • Christina Jasper says:

    We now call this a Community Integration Program in California. How very inspiring your project is for so many people. Many times these adults can be more efficient at their jobs than those of us who do not have a label of "having a disability." I wouldn't trade any of my associates for anyone else. Being a part of a retail business in a small northern California town has increased self-confidence and a feeling of belonging, as well as the added benefit of many job skills
    for our wonderful associates.

  • Kelley Kaplan says:

    I have disabilities but i have overxome

  • Phyllis Montoroula says:

    When I was they age I was sent to a superived workshop head of special ED teacher now pelople with disabiltys have real jobs proud of you all you I been same job 29 years

  • it'svenom bro says:

    This is what I did in special-education high school except I did do a test I did something like this but it was at Walmart and at Walgreens they donโ€™t actually teach you shit he just wasting your time and they would not let him know if he wants you done with this program they donโ€™t even offer me a job to thank you to all my special ed teacher cannot give me a job with dip shit

  • Ziaullah Mohammadi says:

    I'm disability I want a job like this

  • Corrie Scrivener says:

    im going to be the 10% of people who disagree and yes i am disabled . Project Search gave me mental health problems i don't believe in their work . sorry but this is YouTube and i'm going to speak up

  • Catherine Cantine says:

    Not interested.

  • 420 Calero says:


  • Dawn Nicolas says:

    This made me smile! Everyone desires to be needed and wanted wherever they work, and this program seems quite remarkable. Congratulations to all the graduates. ๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ’œ

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