Since 2011, Easterseals Crossroads has partnered with Community Health Network, Lawrence Township Schools and Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation to offer Project SEARCH at Community Hospital North. The program is a work immersion program that provides employment and educational opportunities for final year high school students with developmental disabilities.
Stacy, Boubacar and Sarah are all Community Hospital North employees who started as Project SEARCH interns over ten years ago. During the nine-month program, they learned through classroom instruction and rotations within specific areas of the hospital. They also learned the softer skills that often account for longevity within a career. Each of the three deeply wanted employment right where they started.
Stacy was so excited when he found out that he had been hired after completing his internship. He felt his position would bring new opportunities and new friendships. He likes the independence that working gives him. “I knew my work and my life were going to change forever,” said Stacy.
“When I completed Project SEARCH, I knew that there were many things I could do with my life,” said Boubacar. “My goal is for my mom to come to the US; I save my PTO each year to visit her in Niger.”
According to Sarah, living on her own was high on her list of priorities after high school. “Without Project SEARCH, I wouldn’t have been able to reach my goals. I wanted to live in my own apartment where I could buy things and cook in my kitchen. My job has helped me do the things I want to do,” said Sarah.
“There are roles for people of all abilities in our community. It’s not only creating an opportunity, but then educating a person about how to fit in a role. I think Easterseals Crossroads has a fabulous reputation for doing that in a number of ways.” said Bryan Mills, President/CEO, Community Health Network.