By: Follow South Jersey Staff
CHERRY HILL, N.J. — Nine South Jersey young adults graduated from a year-long Project SEARCH work-transition program and were recognized at a ceremony held at Jefferson Cherry Hill Hospital on June 7.
Each student from Cherry Hill’s Y.A.L.E. School interned in several hospital departments, including Food Service, Patient Accounts, Storeroom and Environmental Services. Receiving their Project SEARCH graduation certificates were Jordan Wright of Easthampton; Marcus Timar of Haddonfield; Eddie Perez of Camden; Naitri Patel of Hainesport; Owen Muller of Pennsauken; Amelia McKitrick of Cherry Hill; William McAnurn of Haddonfield; Jessica Kelokates of Cherry Hill; and Dalton Hlubb of West Deptford.
Five years ago, Jefferson Cherry Hill Hospital became the first site in South Jersey to collaborate with Project SEARCH — an international work-transition program for young adults with autism and other developmental disabilities.
Project SEARCH, developed at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, is a business-led, one-year work-preparation program for young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Most participants are enrolled while transitioning from high school to work. The hallmark of Project SEARCH is total workplace immersion, which facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and hands-on training. Project SEARCH’s primary objective is to secure competitive employment for every program participant.
This program is a collaboration between Jefferson Health, Y.A.L.E. School, the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities, NJ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and Samost Jewish and Family Children’s Service. Since its launch, 38 students from Cherry Hill’s Y.A.L.E. School have taken part in the program at Jefferson Cherry Hill Hospital. About a third of the graduates have been employed by Jefferson Health – New Jersey. Others have been hired by various businesses in the community.
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