Project SEARCH Offers Futures to Developmentally Disabled

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Project SEARCH provides young adults with developmental disabilities opportunities to become successful members of the workforce.
Project SEARCH provides young adults with developmental disabilities opportunities to become successful members of the workforce. Photo Credit: AlainV at en.wikipedia,from Wikimedia Commons

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Project SEARCH, in partnership with Montefiore Medical Center and United Hebrew Home, provides opportunities for young adults with developmental disabilities to learn skills necessary to join the workforce and create a bright future.

Project SEARCH interns are given assistance with creating a career plan, practicing interviews and communication skills, workplace safety, and other common workplace skills.

As a part of the SEARCH program, interns perform clerical work, assist the elderly, work in the hospital kitchen and other jobs.

“They’re great at their jobs,” said Josephine Catalano, volunteer coordinator at Montefiore Medical Center.

“They do all different things, not just the tasks for their jobs, but all different kinds of tasks that are a tremendous help to us.

"They learn the importance of attendance, signing in, knowing the rules, understanding the rules, proper work dress code, etc.,” she said.

Project SEARCH aims to instill good work skills in their interns and erase the stigma attached to those with developmental disabilities that they cannot work.

Project SEARCH benefits both the interns and taxpayers. Each adult with a disability in the workforce who earns minimum wage at a full-time job saves taxpayers $300,000 over the span of each employee’s lifetime.

Former Project SEARCH intern Deliaha Ochoa is in her second year of performing clerical work at New Rochelle City Hall.

“I try my hardest at work. Project SEARCH taught me how to work, and I took that from there to City Hall,” she said.

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