Project SEARCH Highlights Importance of Disability Employment

Project SEARCH Highlights Importance of Disability Employment
Shawnee Mission School District

Shawnee Mission Project SEARCH students have been working to bring attention to disability employment awareness.

As part of Disability Awareness Month the students took time at AdventHealth, where they work, to speak about their job experiences with patients, employees, and visitors.

“October is National Disability Employment awareness month, so not only are we educating our community about our Project SEARCH program, we also want to recognize the important role individuals with disabilities play in creating a diverse and inclusive workplace,” shared Kelly Chapman division coordinator for Post-High Transition Services. 

Project SEARCH is a school-to-work transition program that provides real-world work experiences combined with training to prepare students with disabilities for employment success after high school.

Project SEARCH students fulfill many roles at AdventHealth. These students shared the following:

Jaydon Johnson, Project SEARCH intern, spoke about his work in the central sterilization department.

Daniel Schnacker, Project SEARCH intern sorts, folds, and organizes laundry.

Alex Dvorak, Project SEARCH intern works in the surgery center and also helps to clean beds to assist the nursing staff. Dvorak says he “loves everything about this job.”

In addition to raising awareness and exploring how every job is important at AdventHealth, the project helped students strengthen interpersonal skills such as communication, making eye contact with hospital staff and visitors, and learning appropriate levels of social interaction, Patricia King, job skill trainer for Project SEARCH shared.

“This is such a great program to set these young adults up for success,” King added. “We see their maturity and confidence grow throughout the year. The program provides a great opportunity for them to get to know themselves.”

Superintendent Dr. Michelle Hubbard was among those who stopped by to hear the student presentations.

“We thank the students for all they shared and we are so glad, as One Shawnee Mission, to celebrate all that is made possible through this Project Search partnership,” she expressed.