XENIA — Project SEARCH is helping Greene County youth transition from education to competitive employment with the help of Soin Medical Center.
The five-year-old program is a transitional education/work placement program for individuals with educational challenges. Students receive real-life workforce training from mentors during the school year to help prepare them for their job placement following graduation.
The program is managed through the Greene County Career Center and with the help of educator Elisabeth Cline. The GCCC partners with Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, the Greene County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Soin Medical Center.
Project SEARCH is not just a local program, but international in scope with 400 programs worldwide. Greene County’s program is in the top 5 percent each year.
“We have had amazing success with the students, 100 percent complete the program, 100 percent job placement, and at least 95 percent of those graduates still have the same jobs that they were placed in when they graduated,” said Project SEARCH Coordinator Elisabeth Cline. “About six of those students work for Kettering Health Network today.”
“Our students have a passion to be here,” said Cline.
Students are recruited from Greene County communities. The nine students currently in the program are paired with job mentors at Soin, who help them learn the specific job skills in a field that may best fit their needs. Learning to become professionals, the students will work in sterilization, catering, shipping and receiving, environmental services, the gift shop and much more.
“Our mentors have been phenomenal,” said Cline. “The students’ success is as much a result of our mentors’ dedication.”
During the program, students also learn topics such as team building, technology, interviewing skills, money management and more.
“The students grow and learn so much each year,” added Cline. “Each student has a different disability, and in the program we train and accommodate their needs accordingly. It’s so great to see them grow and learn a career.”
An example of success is a student who lost her parents and joined the program this year.
“She experienced great trauma and had a hard time communicating, but within four months, she came out of her shell and gave her first tour to upcoming students,” said Cline.
Proud of the Project SEARCH’s success, Cline enjoys watching the young people thrive, “I have so much gratitude that this program is available to students. The hospital plays such a huge role in their success. We are so grateful to Soin, the Greene Medical Foundation, Kettering Health Network and all the staff that make this program great.”
Story courtesy of The Greene Medical Foundation – Greene Memorial Hospital and Soin Medical Center hospital.