Project SEARCH Shelby County graduated their second class of interns on May 19 at Shelby Baptist Medical Center. Over 80 people were in attendance including families, professionals, employees from Shelby Baptist Medical Center, and Will and Stephanie Cholewinski , co-owners of Chubb’s Grub Station, who hired a Project SEARCH intern earlier in the year. Thomas Andrew Findlay, a professional artist from Birmingham, was the guest speaker.
Project SEARCH is a School to Work Transition Program for high school students with special needs. Project SEARCH Shelby County is a partnership that includes Shelby Baptist Medical Center, Shelby County Schools, Alabaster City Schools, Arc of Shelby County, Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, Alabama Council on Developmental Disabilities, and Alabama Department of Mental Health. The goal of Project SEARCH is for the interns to secure employment in the community.
During the ceremony, tears filled the room as Lacy Wilson, Project SEARCH Teacher; Kim Bryant, Project SEARCH Job Coach; and Kim Kielbasa, Project SEARCH Job Coach, reflected on the year and gave their last pieces of advice to the interns for gaining employment and living a successful and meaningful life.
While attending Project SEARCH, the interns participated in on-site job training at Shelby Baptist Medical Center where they learned job skills, social skills, and independent living skills to assist them with transitioning from the classroom to the workforce. This year, the interns have participated in a variety of activities including volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and attending the 24th annual Alabama Transition Conference in Auburn.