LIMA — Six young people with disabilities graduated Thursday from an internship with Mercy Health-St. Rita’s.
The interns completed a nine-month employability training program after meeting all the requirements for graduation at their home school districts.
This is the fifth graduating class for Project Search.
The Project Search partners include the Allen County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, Marimor Industries and Mercy Health-St. Rita’s.
“They’re learning job skills and gaining experiences and the whole end goal is to get a job,” said Leigh Taylor, Project Search instructor and coordinator.
Five out of the six interns have found a job as a result of the skills they’ve learned.
Peyton Cottle was hired by St. Rita’s as a transporter. “What I do, I transport patients to procedures, discharges and to surgery.”
So what does he like about his job?
“I like meeting new people, getting more social,” said Cottle.
As the host business, Mercy Health-St. Rita’s provides job sites and mentors where the student interns can learn and grow with the goal of community employment. The program focuses on soft skills, self-advocacy, finances and becoming independent adults.
“They’ve learned how to follow directions, pay attention, work with the adult working population because they did just come from high school. So they deferred their diploma for one year while they attend Project Search and when they’re done here they receive their diploma from high school, they graduate from Project Search and they go into that adult working world in a competitive job,” said Taylor.
“We’re actually funded by a company called Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, or OOD. It’s a federally funded program and we’re also with St. Rita’s Medical Center as a partnership and it’s also funded by Allen County Board of DD,” said Taylor.
The outlook for the program is bright.
“We have eleven interns already set for next year to start in the fall,” said Taylor.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409