Project SEARCH graduates

'This program is life-changing'

Project SEARCH spreads throughout South Carolina.

Four Upstate South Carolina organizations teamed together to bring the first Project SEARCH program to South Carolina in 2014.

Now, school systems across the state are following the lead of Dorman High School, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Vocational Rehabilitation Department and Upstate Workforce Investment Board in developing their own Project SEARCH internship programs for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. School District 5 of Lexington and Richland counties started their program in 2015.

“We visited Spartanburg Medical Center several times and talked to educators, job coaches and hospital staff,” said Angie Slatton, PhD, Director of Special Services for School District 5 of Lexington and Richland Counties. “Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System’s experience and success was key to moving forward with our project. The Spartanburg team started a program that I believe will grow into partnerships and new programs all over the state.”

The School District of Pickens County starting their first Project SEARCH in the fall of 2016.

“Quite simply, our students with disabilities need to have more opportunities for gainful life-long employment. Project SEARCH had this as its mission, it was a partnership that we needed to make happen,” said Cathy Ashton, director of Special Services for the School District of Pickens County.

Project SEARCH teaches student interns job skills and work ethics, but also builds character and confidence, according to Sam Napier, Spartanburg Medical Center and Dorman High Project SEARCH instructor.

“This program is life changing,” Napier said. “It’s so successful because the hospital is so gracious in giving students the opportunity to show what they can do. We see growth as the students deal with adult, business situations.”

On Monday, May 23, 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!

  • Jasper Sawyer, Spartanburg Medical Center Linen Services
  • Keith Gearwar, Spartanburg Medical Center Dining Services
  • Daniel Harris, Spartanburg Medical Center Central Patient Transport
  • Luis-Luna Romero, Spartanburg Medical Center Central Patient Transport
  • Marissa Butler, McDonald’s
  • Wesley Simmons, Spartanburg Medical Center Environmental Services
  • Whitney Davis, Spartanburg Medical Center Environmental Services
  • Lyric Robinson, South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Adult Work Training Center