First Project SEARCH graduates in Anderson

The first class of Project SEARCH graduates from AnMed Health (left to right): Elizabeth Gonzalez, La-Keisha Logan, Trenton Pate and Dillon Worley. Not pictured: Aron Gilliam.

The first class of Project SEARCH graduates from AnMed Health (left to right): Elizabeth Gonzalez, La-Keisha Logan, Trenton Pate and Dillon Worley. Not pictured: Aron Gilliam.

Aron Gilliam, Elizabeth Gonzalez, La-Keisha Logan, Trenton Pate and Dillon Worley were recognized for being the first class of Project SEARCH graduates from AnMed Health during a ceremony on June 11 at Westside High School in Anderson.

Project SEARCH is an international school-to-work program that places high school students with disabilities into a work environment, with the ultimate goal of competitive employment. It combines classroom instruction, career exploration, and hands-on training.

It is a collaborative effort between VR, DDSN, Anderson School District 5, and AnMed. AnMed is the 4th Project SEARCH site in South Carolina.

VR provides a full time job coach at AnMed and all students selected for Project SEARCH also become VR clients, eligible for vocational assessment, disability management, training and job search assistance. The Department of Disabilities and Special Needs will provide long-term follow up support. School District 5 provided a special education teacher.

Instead of attending regular classes, the students selected for Project SEARCH have spent their last year of high school completing three 10 to 11 week internships at AnMed in the following departments:

  • Engineering
  • Information Systems/Computer Services
  • Nursing Services
  • Food Services
  • Linen Services
  • Environmental Services

They became immersed in the hospital work environment and learned a variety of marketable, transferable job skills they can utilize throughout their lives.

Four of the interns have been hired into competitive employment, two by AnMed and two elsewhere.

This fall, Project SEARCH will expand to include all five Anderson County School Districts and 10 students will intern at AnMed. Additional, three new sites will open their doors to Project SEARCH interns around the state.