JANESVILLE, Wisconsin – Today (June 7, 2019) was graduation day for young interns participating in Mercyhealth’s Project SEARCH program. A group of six local students are now ready to join Wisconsin’s workforce while fighting the stigma that accompany people with disabilities.
Mercyhealth and Project SEARCH announced its partnership in October 2018 and became the first host site in Rock County for student interns with disabilities. Project SEARCH is a unique, business-led, one-year school-to-work program that takes place entirely in the workplace. The selected students work in three internships, supervised by a Mercyhealth manager and program skills trainer, over the course of the year in combination with classroom instruction, goal setting, career exploration, and hands-on training through worksite rotations. Each student works with a team that includes their family, an instructor, a department mentor, rehabilitation counselor and skills trainers to create their employment goal and to support the student during their transition from school to work.
Ashton Thompson, one of this year’s graduates, was hired in central supply in the linen department at Mercyhealth Hospital and Trauma Center-Janesville. “This is such a good day for me,” said Ashton.
The strength of Project SEARCH in Janesville comes from the partnerships created locally to make the students successful. It’s been licensed to Aptiv, a non-profit with over 40 years of experience working alongside children and adults with disabilities, providing a spectrum of innovative support through programs and service so they may live more independent lives. Alongside them, the Cooperative Educational Service Agency 2 (CESA2), provides services and support to its 74 member school districts throughout Dane, Green, Jefferson, Kenosha, Racine, Rock and Walworth counties in southern Wisconsin. The other school district partners ensuring Project SEARCH’s success are Beloit, Beloit Turner, Brodhead, Clinton Community, Delavan-Darien, Edgerton, Evansville Community, Janesville, Milton and Parkview.
For more information about Project SEARCH at Mercyhealth, call or email Tracy Elger, director of programs and services, CESA 2, at (262) 473-1443 or firstname.lastname@example.org.