Since 2014, Project SEARCH has helped 23 special-needs students get jobs after high school. The internship program for students with development disabilities began as a collaboration between four Upstate organizations to help students learn work ethics and skills at Spartanburg Medical Center.
Now in its third year, Project SEARCH is expanding internship opportunities in Spartanburg through its newly formed Business Advisory Committee. Initially only Dorman High School students could intern at Spartanburg Medical Center (SMC), the new advisory committee will identify other internship opportunities in Spartanburg.
“Thanks to the success of our Project SEARCH Program at SMC, our program partners and our newly formed Business Advisory Committee, seven new sites have been identified in the community for internships and possible employment opportunities for future interns,” said Gloria Graves, coordinator for student programs with Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. “Project SEARCH continues to thrive at Spartanburg Medical Center and grow across the state, with the start of three new programs scheduled for the 2017-18 school year.”
Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Spartanburg School District Six, SC Vocational Rehabilitation Department and Upstate Workforce Investment Board teamed up in 2014 to create South Carolina’s first Project SEARCH program. In 2015, school districts in Lexington, Richland and Pickens counties followed Spartanburg’s lead.
Spartanburg’s Business Advisory Committee was created in 2016 to help expand employment opportunities for Project SEARCH interns.
“We wanted to include other businesses to provide our interns different experiences and advice as we go forth with the Project SEARCH program,” Graves said.
Project SEARCH teaches student interns job skills and work ethics, but also builds character and confidence. Project SEARCH is an international program with more than 300 locations across the United States.
On Monday, May 22, Spartanburg’s second Project SEARCH class graduated eight students, all of whom are employed with jobs across the Upstate:
Congratulations to our Project SEARCH graduates!
- Tyler Williams, Spartanburg Medical Center Linen Services
- Kwamell Evans, Spartanburg Medical Center Central Patient Transport
- Benaja Means, Spartanburg Medical Center Neurology as a patient care associate
- Ruriko Nakashima, Spartanburg Medical Center Environmental Services
- Devonte Higgins, Spartanburg Medical Center Environmental Services
- Jason West, Denny's in Boiling Springs
- Alazette Davis, Internship at Kings and Queens Child Development Center in Duncan
- Kimmie Lawless, Pursing employment in the Charlotte metro area after graduation