First Graduating Class of School-to-Work Program Is Honored at Good Shepherd in Allentown6/18/2009
ALLENTOWN, PA –Good Shepherd Work Services Division and Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit 21 recently celebrated the graduation of seven students from Project SEARCH, a nine-month school-to-work program for students with special needs. The program provides real-life work experience, combined with training in employability and independent living skills, to help individuals with special needs successfully transition from school to productive life. Project SEARCH is a collaborative effort of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit 21, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and Lehigh County Office of Developmental Programs.
The graduating students are: Isaiah Alston, Allentown, Allentown School District; Erica Clark, Allentown, Allentown School District; Heather Coe, Emmaus, East Penn School District; Kevin Fritchman, Allentown, Allentown School District; Bryan Meltzer, Allentown, Parkland School District; Christie Skiles, Coopersburg, Southern Lehigh School District; Laura Wills, Allentown, Parkland School District.
“This program provides the skills the students need for the workforce,” says Jack Houser, director of Special Programs and Services at the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit 21. “More importantly, it has taught them how to work collaboratively, be on time and take direction from their boss.”
For the past nine months, the students worked side-by-side with Good Shepherd employees in areas such as housekeeping, central supply, the mailroom, shipping and receiving, and medical staff services. They also filled roles within administration and on patient care units. The students completed the same tasks as their counterparts without special needs, helping them gain a competitive edge in the workforce.
“Good Shepherd’s mission is to promote independence for people with disabilities and special needs,” says Mac McKeithen, senior vice president, Advancing the Institution and Work Services Divisions. “We are proud to support Project SEARCH, which provides the training these students need to transition into the working world with compassionate support from our expert employees.”
For more information about Project SEARCH or other programs offered by Good Shepherd Work Services call 610-776-8350 or visit www.GoodShepherdRehab.org.