|Prince William Hospital to Host 8 Students Through Project SEARCH for 2011-2012 School Year|
The launch of Project SEARCH was celebrated at an
open house on August 30 at Prince William Hospital. In collaboration with
Manassas City Public Schools, Didlake, the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative
Services, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Prince William Hospital will
provide on-site internship experiences for eight high school students with
disabilities ages 18 to 21 during the 2011-2012 school year.
SEARCH is a partnership among business, education and vocational rehabilitation
organizations that began at Cincinnati Children's Hospital in 1997. It consists
of a nine-month school-to-work program for students with intellectual
disabilities or autism spectrum disorders. The goal for each student is
competitive employment somewhere in the community using the skills they have
acquired during their internships.
"Our staff is thrilled to be able to
provide this learning opportunity for local students," said Melissa Robson,
President of Prince William Hospital and Chief Operating Officer of the Northern
Virginia Market. "Students will gain experience working in different departments
of the hospital throughout the year and acquire skills that will help them
secure employment in the future, either within our hospital or elsewhere in the
The focus of each internship is based on the skills and
interests of the individual student. "Students who are accepted into this
program have a strong desire to learn and work and are incredibly receptive to
feedback," said Jennifer McDonough from the VCU Rehabilitation Research &
Training Center. "Students build communication and problem-solving skills, as
well as job-specific skills, throughout the worksite rotations. It's really a
joy to see how much the students learn in such a short period of time."
Students will participate in three unpaid internships, which will last
between 10 and 12 weeks. Areas that will be hosting interns in the hospital
include rehabilitation services, information technology, surgical services,
emergency services, food and nutrition, pharmacy, guest services and
environmental services. Each site was selected based on its ability to provide
skills that students can transfer to jobs that they may apply for in the future.
The eight students, who are from Manassas City Public School, went
through an application and interview process before being accepted into this
project. A Manassas City Public School teacher will be on-site all day, every
day throughout the school year with the students.
from Didlake will also assist the students while learning their job tasks in
"We are looking forward to this experience just as
much as the students, if not more so," said Robson. "As one of the largest
employers in the area, Prince William Hospital has an incredible opportunity to
play a role in shaping the future of our youth in the community. It's a very
Project SEARCH will be operating in 10 sites throughout
the state of Virginia this fall and has been replicated at more than 200 sites
nationwide. Prince William Hospital will be the first site to launch the program
north of Richmond. The school year begins September 6, 2011.