Disabled adults receiving a new opportunity to work and find freedom

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – Five young adults from Cumberland and Perry counties are exploring employment opportunities through Project Search, a 30 week non-paid internship program. This is the first year for the program in Cumberland County, which kicked off Dec. 20, 2017. The program provides work experience and training to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The interns are learning soft skills, such as career exploration, searching for employment and interviewing skills as well as hard skills such as Starting this week participants began their first of three, 10-week internships working in Cumberland County government departments.

21 year old Deanjae (DJ) Campbell of Carlisle is ecstatic to start the new internship. Campbell loves to read and goes to the library every other week to check out as many books as her mothers allows. She has had a lot of downtime since 2016 since she graduated Carlisle High School and couldn’t secure a job. She says with the new found skills she is acquiring through Project Search she hopes to secure a job by next year and start making money. To Campbell money means newfound freedom to buy whatever books she wants and someday potentially move into a place of her own.

Many county departments are participate in the program including Claremont Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, the Library system and several clerical positions in the Human Services departments. The young adults begin each day with a one hour class then spend four hours working at their internship and end the day with a half hour debriefing session. This program is collaboration between Cumberland County government, Goodwill Keystone Area Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Cumberland/Perry Office of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Project Search is a national program with an 85% success rate for acclimating young adults into contributing members of society. The program is already up and running in Dauphin and Lancaster counties. Once these five interns in Cumberland and Perry graduate from the program in September they will transition into finding their first paying jobs. For more information on Project Search visit http://www.projectsearch.us

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