Beaumont Health System's participation in Project SEARCH was recently recognized by The Arc of Oakland County with its "Employer/Contractor of the Year Award." The presentation took place April 12 in Troy. The program acknowledged the recipients of the Arc's 2013 Dove Awards for outstanding contributions to the lives of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Beaumont Hospital, Troy has participated in the Project SEARCH High School Transition program since 2011. The one-year, school-to-work program is for post-secondary students with intellectual and developmental disorders. It is a collaboration with Beaumont, Oakland Schools, the Troy and Hazel Park school districts, Michigan Rehabilitation Services, Jewish Vocational Services and the Oakland County Mental Health Authority.
"Students spend an hour in the classroom each morning, learning the skills needed for employment, such as resume building, interview training, on-the-job training, code of conduct, grooming, problem-solving and critical thinking skills," explains Carolyn VanNoord, Project SEARCH teacher, Troy School District. "The goal of the program is for the students to gain work experience that will give them skills necessary to obtain a paying job in the workforce."
Beaumont, Troy graduated 14 students, ages 18 to 26, from the program in 2011-12. It has nine students enrolled in the current school year.
Four Project SEARCH graduates have been hired at Beaumont, Troy, including 20-year-old Kaylie Jaynes, who works in Patient Transportation. "She did what she needed to do during her internship, plus more, " says VanNoord. "The supervisors would try to challenge her and she would just rise above their expectations each time."
Says Pam Kinsler, manager, Patient Transportation, "Kaylie is a ray of sunshine. She comes to work every day with a positive attitude and always wants to do her best."
Another Project SEARCH graduate Stephanie Martin, 24, now works part-time as a housekeeper in the Environmental Services department. Being employed at the hospital has given her a feeling of accomplishment and a sense of purpose.
"I really like it because I'm around people and it gives me something to do," says Stephanie. "My mom, dad and sister all work, so if I didn't have this job, I'd probably be home by myself. I've learned a lot. I keep my focus on my job because if I do it well, maybe someday I can do another kind of job, like the people I see walking by every day."
Adds Kinsler, "Project SEARCH has yielded beyond successful results at Beaumont, Troy. The administration and staff really embrace the students and are so willing to help them grow as employees and individuals. The program has a tremendously positive impact on our staff."
The Arc of Oakland County is a nonprofit agency that provides direct legal, general advocacy, informational and referral services as well as community awareness and recreational programs for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. The Arc, with 800 chapters nationwide, exists to ensure that all citizens with disabilities are valued, and that they and their families can participate fully in, and contribute to, the life of the community.