MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — There are no caps and gowns at this graduation, but twenty-one students in Mobile County have a lot to be proud of. They have completed a year-long program through Mobile County Public Schools called Project Search. It’s a program for special needs students that started six years ago through the school system. The idea is for the students to spend the year doing an internship in one of our local hospitals to learn job training skills. News 5 stopped by graduation from the program at the Mobile Infirmary Health System.
The students are working in just about every department in the hospital, including central distribution, patient transport, sanitation, mail service, and food service.
The Project Search program is giving students opportunities beyond high school. Lynn Moss is the Program coordinator for Mobile County Schools. She says many of these students will not go to college, but they are learning the skills which make them employable. She says they have grown so much during the program.
“Once they go through the program, they are independent, they develop confidence, they get job skills, and I am happy to say all of them have been placed on jobs,” Moss said.
Carol Statter helps place the students in departments at Mobile Infirmary. She says of the fifty-six students who have gone through the program over the last several years, forty- five have gotten jobs either at the hospital or in other businesses. She says many people focus on what special needs students can’t do, instead of what they can do.
“I tell the parents when they start. You are going to be surprised. Your babies grow up to be adults in these short nine months. They really do make a huge transition,” Statter said.
Student, Alex Gardner, is very proud that he has landed a job at Harbor Freight Tools since taking part in the program.
“Project search has been a good program since I started it. It helped me get a job, different types of job skills,” Gardner said.
Project Search also places students at Providence Hospital in Mobile and Thomas Hospital in Fairhope.
There is a waiting list for next year’s Project Search program. If you would like more information, call Lynn Moss at (251)221-4222.