JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - It was a special night for a group of young adults graduating from the Project SEARCH program.
The 10 interns graduated from the 9-month internship with St. Bernards Medical Center, Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, and Access Initiative.
Project SEARCH provides hands-on training for people with disabilities.
Asia Esters was one of the graduates and she’s very grateful for this program.
“I’m like out of words about how good this program is to me, and how it has help me overcome so much in me,” Esters said.
Mary Housewright is the instructor/coordinator for Project SEARCH and said you can see the growth in the interns at the end of those 9 months.
“I can’t describe the looks on their faces and just how different,” Housewright said.
Each graduate made a speech in front of their family during Wednesday night’s graduation and received a certificate.
Housewright said 9 out of the 10 interns now have jobs.
“We have a 98% success rate. We get them all jobs we get them in the community, and we follow them,” Housewright said.
Employers in the community even ask the Project SEARCH team for tips on training their employees because of the skills the interns come to work with.
“The life skills that they’ve learned, the job skills… it’s amazing,” Housewright said.
The skills the interns learn lead them to pursue bigger and better things, like Davis Wilson’s long term goal.
“I’m looking forward to my long term dream job of working with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to become a wildlife officer,” Wilson said.
Housewright is overjoyed with the graduates’ accomplishments even as the last part of the program went online due to COVID-19.
“Just how proud I am of these guys they have come so far, especially in the middle of a pandemic,” Housewright said.
This is the third graduating class of interns in Jonesboro, with a total of 28 graduates.
If you would like to learn more about Project SEARCH, click here.