Seven Project SEARCH interns marked their successful completion of their program during a special graduation ceremony back in May at Mercy Health – Springfield Regional Medical Center.
Each year, our health system hosts a group of high-school aged students with disabilities. It’s an opportunity for them to receive on-the-job training through internship rotations in different areas of the hospital environment such as the emergency department or human resources.
“Project SEARCH immerses students into a real work atmosphere from day one,” said Jeana Baucant-Koon, the Project SEARCH coordinator in our Springfield market, shares. “Among other skills, students are taught workplace safety, team building, professional etiquette, technology, financial literacy, customer service skills and they get to practice professionalism with support from job coaches and mentors.”
Our Springfield team works with several community partners, including Springfield-Clark Career Technology Center, United Rehabilitation Services, Developmental Disabilities of Clark County and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, to prepare the interns for fulfilling and productive jobs after high school.
Since launching in November 2011, 94 percent of our Springfield Project SEARCH interns found employment within their first year of graduation. As for the class of 2023, it will make 77 total graduates from the site.
“I wanted to let you know that two graduates are now employed here at Mercy Health: one in registration and one in the dietary department,” Jeana adds.
Jeana hopes the hospital’s track record of hiring on Project SEARCH interns will set an example for other businesses in the area.
“Our community is impacted greatly by teaching and training students with disabilities who are an untapped and underused workforce. By hiring a person with a disability, they are showing others that they are open to working with a community of folks that bring a great work ethic, dedication and positivity into their workforce.”
The program not only provides interns with support to find employment, but also helps them to maintain it once employed. That includes offering interns help with driver’s training, accessing benefits and other important assistance that enables them to grow into confident, independent citizens.
“We also provide information for community events, groups, and clubs,” Jeana shares. “We have helped with tax information, budgeting and goal planning after graduation. Our hope is that our graduates can be as independent as possible within their community.”
Learn about the health care services we provide at Mercy Health.