October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and Project SEARCH interns from the Shawnee Mission School District recently hosted a table at AdventHealth to share information about Project SEARCH and people-first language.
Matan White and Parker Burrus helped raise awareness for any hospital employee, educator, patient or family member who walked by. They shared that Project SEARCH is a school-to-work transition program that provides real-world work experience combined with training to prepare students with disabilities for employment success after high school.
Working in the B.E. Smith Family Center, White prepares snack buckets for children, delivers linens, and assists with cleaning and organizing. He explained it’s a role he enjoys that has helped him learn how to manage a busy schedule and show initiative.
Burrus is currently interning in the lab and is responsible for delivering specimens to buildings across the AdventHealth campus. He shared that Project SEARCH is a fun program, and that he appreciates the responsibility of going to so many buildings and departments.
White and Burrus handed out a flier emphasizing the importance of recognizing that people with disabilities have individual abilities, interests, and needs. People-first language places the person before the disability.
Expressing her pride in the students, Project SEARCH instructor Amy Quinley shared, “These students have so much to offer. They’re hard working and super capable. The learning they’ve done since day one in the program is astronomical.”
National Disability Employment Awareness Month is held each October to commemorate the many and varied contributions of people with disabilities to America’s workplaces and economy.