Goodwill NCW celebrates Project SEARCH grads poised for jobs Header Image

FOX VALLEY, WI—Goodwill North Central Wisconsin (Goodwill NCW) celebrated the accomplishments of six interns who graduated from the Project SEARCH site at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center in Appleton on May 23 and seven interns who graduated from the Project SEARCH site at Ascension Mercy Hospital in Oshkosh on May 24. Goodwill NCW serves as the primary coordinator and service provider for the sites, alongside other collaborative partners and funders.

Project SEARCH is a nine-month internship program that prepares people with disabilities to enter the workforce. The program is built to provide direct experience that is transferrable to jobs within the community and culminates in a graduation ceremony, after which participants seek employment.

“Everyone deserves the opportunity to develop to their fullest potential; Project SEARCH provides an incredibly effective way to do just that. Goodwill NCW is proud of the interns who worked hard to build their skills to secure employment and improve their financial stability,” Kayla Countney, Manager of Mission Relations at Goodwill NCW said. “We are thankful to our partners in the Appleton and Oshkosh communities that make the program possible. Together we are committed to enhancing the lives of people with disabilities.”

The Appleton and Oshkosh Project SEARCH programs both welcome students referred to the program by local school districts as well as adults enrolled with the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. While participating in Project SEARCH, the interns rotate through various departments within the hospitals to gain hands-on skills that will help them in their future employment.

For Nate, a graduate of Project SEARCH at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center in Appleton, the experience allowed him to explore various areas of the hospital to see what fit best. “What I love about Project SEARCH is that I got to go to three different departments at the hospital. My favorite department was the lab.”

Aiden, Project Search Graduate at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center, had support in the ceremony audience. Beaming with pride, his father Nick Ross said, “I’ve seen the change in him trying to transition into the workforce, and everyone that’s around him, helps him a lot. The future looks very bright for him.”

The hospital setting provides a variety of different job experiences. Interns may help the facilities team or the nursing staff, transport patients, stock and replenish medical supplies, clean surgery supplies, help in the gift shop or the cafeteria. Internationally, 73.6% percent of those who participated in Project SEARCH in 2021-22 secured employment after completing the program. (Source: Outcome Summary – Project SEARCH.) The international program has a local presence in Appleton and Oshkosh thanks to the following partners:

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