Gaining Real World Experience Through Supported Employment
One of the objectives of the Project SEARCH program is to give individuals without previous job experience an opportunity to build their resume with meaningful real-world skills. Bridging the gap between educational services and adult services for young adults with disabilities is where Project SEARCH and The Choice Group have formed an advantageous partnership. Our counselor, Rachel McGregor, is a transition counselor and Project SEARCH specialist and works very closely with many Norfolk Public School graduates who wish to apply for Project SEARCH internships.
When she first starts working with a client, Rachel is there from the very beginning of the internship application process. She determines along with her client what positions may be a good fit to apply for, they work together during on-site job training and when the year-long internship is complete, Rachel helps her clients find stable employment. Katara Rodgers, one of Rachel’s recent clients, is no exception!
Katara entered the Project SEARCH program in September of 2014. Working for SODEXO at the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters in southwestern Virginia as a Trayline operator. Rachel was there through the original job training when Katara decided that position wasn’t the right one for her. They worked together, along with SODEXO on finding her another position as a dishwasher that supported the Trayline.
Throughout her internship, Rachel was there for Katara during on-site training. They worked together on breaking down tasks into smaller steps. Katara learned how to accept constructive criticism from management, following instructions and getting used to a professional environment with other individuals. Having no previous job experience out of high school, she found that this job was a great match for her! She gets along with all of her coworkers and loves getting the job done. Katara was officially hired on staff in April of 2015!
Rachel continues to work with Katara on a monthly basis through Follow-Along services. Gaining real-world work experience through these programs and supported employment is integral in guaranteeing these young adults a successful transition from educational to adult services.