SEARCH begins with successful year

Contributed

Janelle, a 2017 graduate of Project SEARCH at Seton Highland Lakes, performs data entry work at the hospital. See the whole class and more scenes from training in the new program on the Facebook page for The Highlander.

 

Project SEARCH at Seton Highland Lakes recently celebrated the graduation of its inaugural class. Five young adults spent nine months training in complex areas of the hospital, gaining marketable skills to leverage their employment portfolio as they enter today’s competitive workforce.

Friends, families, and fellow Seton Healthcare Family colleagues joined Danelle, Jacob, Janelle, Michael, and Peter to celebrate the end of their internship and begin the next part of their journey: competitive employment.

While today marks the end of their Project SEARCH internship, I’m confident the enhanced training the interns received at Seton Highland Lakes will make them qualified candidates for critically skilled careers in our community,” said Karen Litterer, chief operating officer, Seton Highland Lakes.

Project SEARCH at Seton is a best practice for training young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The interns spend nine months in three rotations. They gain skills to help launch them into a successful career either at Seton, or in the community.

Since 2007, 158 interns have graduated from Project SEARCH at Seton, with a 91 percebt employment rate for those graduates. This is an incredible result, given the national unemployment rate for people with disabilities is over twice the rate for people without disabilities, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

During my time in Project SEARCH, I learned how to stock medications, upload patient information to an online database, and properly sterilize and package surgical sets, which broadened my skills and has prepared me to be a candidate for more professional fields and positions,” said Danelle, a 2017 Project SEARCH graduate.

Project SEARCH was founded at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 1996 and has now expanded to more than 400 sites nationally and internationally, including five Seton sites.

Project SEARCH at Seton Highland Lakes is the newest site to join Seton’s Project SEARCH. The other sites are Seton Medical Center Hays, Seton Medical Center Williamson, Seton Northwest, and the newest teaching hospital, Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas.

Project SEARCH at Seton epitomizes collaboration among business, education, government and local disability service providers. These partners work together to craft a creative person-centered opportunity focused on preparing young adults to meet the heavy demands of the professional workforce.

Associates from Seton, Liberty Hill ISD, Texas Workforce Commission, Goodwill Industries, and Bluebonnet Trails Communities were in attendance to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduating interns.

Speakers included Litterer; Geronimo Rodriguez, Seton’s chief advocacy officer; Elyse Tarlton, director of special education; and Larry Temple, executive director of Texas Workforce Commission.

Collectively, the graduates spent more than 3,000 hours in hospital rotations at Seton Highland Lakes. They assisted hospital staff in providing the highest level of Humancare to patients and visitors.

The interns spent time in departments such as the Pharmacy, Emergency Department, Food Services, Imaging, Environmental Services, Sterile Processing, and Materials Management.

I take great pride in knowing that I and my fellow interns both gained valuable experience and did our part to help Seton deliver great Humancare to the patients we serve,” said Danelle. “I know I will take this mindset with me as I pursue a career.”

Project SEARCH at Seton Highland Lakes is currently recruiting the next group of interns for the 2017-2018 year. For more information, please e-mail projectsearch@seton.org, or call 512-324-5985.

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