Grady partners with Project SEARCH

September 10, 2011

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OhioHealth’s Grady Memorial Hospital is partnering with Project SEARCH to make a brighter future for a group of young people who might not otherwise get the chance. Project SEARCH is a business-led collaboration that enables young adults with disabilities to gain and maintain employment through training and career exploration.

Starting August 24, a group of eight high school seniors from Delaware and Franklin County will begin their first day as students of Project SEARCH at Grady Memorial Hospital.

 “When we were approached by community partners about bringing Project SEARCH to Grady, we knew it was a strong program with a great reputation,” said Grady Memorial’s Director of Growth and Development Ben Shaffer. “It was the perfect way for Grady Memorial to give back to the community and give deserving young adults the tools they need to be successful.”

The goal of the program is to help students make that sometimes difficult transition into the working world. Through total immersion in the hospital environment, these students with physical and developmental disabilities will learn skills to make them competitive in the workforce once they graduate.

Each student will complete a rotation of three internships at the hospital that challenges their ability to work, plan and problem solve. Jobs range from stocking nurses’ carts and working in the cafeteria to greeting guests and looking for expired items in the hospital supplies.

In addition, students are taught job and interview skills in the classroom — skills like how to get a job, how to keep a job, shaking hands and making eye contact.

“The students receive continual feedback from managers, job coaches and coworkers to help them grow in the hospital environment,” said Nancy Miller, CRC/LSW, who helps place the students into their roles at the Project SEARCH locations.

“The last year of high school is an important transition time for these students,” continued Miller. “It’s important that we support them so that they can be successful upon graduating from the program.”

“We are very excited for the first school year of Project SEARCH at Grady,” said Shaffer. “We know we will learn just as much from these young people as they learn from us.”

Project SEARCH originally started at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 1996 and has grown to more than 210 programs in 40 states and five countries, including OhioHealth’s Dublin Methodist Hospital. The program has flourished because of dedicated businesses, teachers and staff who have one goal in mind, securing competitive employment for the young people that they serve.

It is participation in programs like Project SEARCH that have earned OhioHealth local and national recognition for helping people with disabilities, including the best practice distinction from the Governor’s Council on People with Disabilities.

Project SEARCH includes a partnership between a host business, education and vocational rehabilitation.  Besides Grady Memorial Hospital, which is the on-site classroom and internship location that will teach core healthcare skills, additional partners include:

  • Delaware Area Career Center, which provides an instructor, employability skills curriculum and student interns from their affiliated schools.
  • Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission, which provides individual career guidance, job coaching and other supports for each student to gain competitive employment.
  • Ergon Employment Solutions, which provides job coaching and job development for student interns at Grady and in their initial job.
  • Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities, which provides long term retention and support for eligible interns once they secure a job.