The Project SEARCH class of 2019 celebrated commencement for their first graduating class. Seven students earned certificates for completing internships at AdventHealth and their high school diplomas from their home high school.
Project SEARCH, a school-to-work transition program, launched this fall through a partnership between the Shawnee Mission School District and AdventHealth, offers work experience and training to help improve student employment skills.
“I am privileged today to help us honor these exceptional students,” Amy Milroy, Project SEARCH Business Liaison said. “I worked with several of these students when they were babies or infants at the Lee Ann Britain Infant Development Center, and to see first-hand how they have grown and what they have accomplished, leaves me speechless.”
Aubrey Gilhaus, Project SEARCH Instructor, thanked AdventHealth for their partnership and for welcoming Project SEARCH interns. Gilhaus praised the interns for rising to the challenge in a professional, adult environment.
“I have seen so much growth since the beginning of the year in their communication and social skills,” Gilhaus noted. “This has been a life-changing opportunity for these young adults.”
Sara Pietig, Project SEARCH Intern, was the speaker for the class. She noted the students have learned how to work in a big hospital and thanked AdventHealth and all the trainers and instructors who helped make this opportunity possible.
“Now, because of all our experience and preparation, we are ready to go out into the world and work,” Pietig said.
Jackie Chatman, Assistant Director of Special Education, introduced the interns as they received their certificates of completion. She shared remarks about each intern, and the positions and responsibilities they held in the AdventHealth during their time in the Project SEARCH program.
She also shared future employment opportunities the students had secured or are pursuing because of their achievements in the Project SEARCH program.
Alexis has worked in the following Internships: The Birth Center, Central Distribution, and Early Learning Center. After graduation Alexis will continue to pursue employment with assistance from Johnson County Developmental Supports (JCDS) employment services.
Noah has worked in the following internships: The Food Transportation and Dish room for Nutrition Services, the Early Learning Center and The Lab. Following Graduation Noah will be working as a day porter for the Early Learning Center at AdventHealth.
Luke has worked in following Internships: Central Processing and Facilities Management and Environmental Services. Luke has been offered a position at AdventHealth in the Environmental Services Department following graduation.
Heather has worked in the following internships: Central Processing, the Harvest Kitchen and Laundry and Environmental Services. After graduation Heather will continue to pursue employment with assistance from JCDS follow-up services, she is interested in working with laundry services.
Sara has worked in the following Internships: Birth Center, Central Distribution, and the Early Learning Center. After graduation Sara will pursue employment. She would like to work in a school district as an aide. She plans to volunteer at AdventHealth Early Learning Center this summer.
Jackson has worked in the following internships: Bed Transport and Admissions and the Infant Development Center. Following graduation Jackson will continue to pursue employment with assistance from JCDS employment services.
Lucy has worked in the following internships: Infant Development Center, Harvest Kitchen, and the Lab. Following graduation Lucy will be working at Chick -fil-a in Mission as a hostess.
Gilhaus thanked AdventHealth administrators for welcoming Project SEARCH interns and thanked the Shawnee Mission School District and the Board of Education for developing this partnership and creative opportunity to serve students.
“This is another wonderful example of preparing our students for careers.”