SEARCHING FOR SUCCESS: Program Helps Young Adults Prep for Careers
Department of Workforce Development, Mayo Clinic collaborate on effort for young adults with disabilities
“Project SEARCH is where good opportunities arise for young adults,” says Bryanna Troutz, an Elk Mound High School student and a recent graduate of the Project SEARCH program at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. Bryanna will soon begin her full-time job at Mayo in the Patient Appointment Services Department.
Thanks to Project SEARCH, Bryanna says, “(I) learned about new opportunities and different adult responsibilities.”
Jennifer Steffes, Project SEARCH Business Liaison for Mayo Clinic Health System, echoed Bryanna’s comment, and said she believes the program positively impacts all individuals by increasing awareness of abilities, diversity, and inclusion.
“We have seen increased job satisfaction, improved workflows, and improved morale,” she said.
Project SEARCH is a business-led collaboration that enables young adults with disabilities to gain and maintain employment through training and career exploration.
“The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development celebrates over 180 Project SEARCH graduates throughout the state who have explored new skills, expanded their opportunities, and earned a sense of pride through rewarding work,” said DWD Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek. “In Wisconsin, some 171,000 people with disabilities are not attached to the labor market, yet we know many want to work. With our record-low unemployment rate, supporting these individuals in achieving their employment potential has never been more important.”
The graduation ceremony, held at Mayo Clinic Health System’s Luther Building in Eau Claire recently, marked the completion of an immersive work experience. Each of the 11 interns recounted their hands-on experiences and talked about their future career opportunities.
In addition to the host site and DWD’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the local internship experience was made possible by partners including the L.E. Phillips Career Development Center, Inclusa, TMG, and the Eau Claire Area School District. Statewide, 25 premier employers are participating in Project SEARCH this year.
Project SEARCH is a collaborative effort among DWD, state vocational rehabilitation agencies, area schools, local employers, and long-term care organizations to help interns acquire marketable, competitive, and transferable skills that lead to employment. The interns complete multiple 10-week rotations to maximize exposure to different career paths, learning employability skills in a classroom and hands-on job skills within the business environment.
Started at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 1996, Project SEARCH has provided workforce training to nearly 1,500 Wisconsinites since its statewide launch in 2008.
For more information, visit the Project SEARCH Wisconsin website at dwd.wisconsin.gov/dvr/programs/project-search.