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Holy Name Hosts End Of Year Ceremony For Project Search
Eight Students Graduate From Bergen County Job Skills Training Internship

Holy Name Medical Center is hosting an end-of-year ceremony for students who participated in Project SEARCH, a Bergen County job skills training program for high school seniors with disabilities, on June 13 at 5 p.m. in Marian Hall. Involvement in this program allowed students to spend their last year of high school working in various departments in the hospital, exploring career options and developing transferable job skills.

"We are pleased to be part of this exemplary program and found we got as much from this experience as the students did," said Michael Maron, President and CEO of Holy Name. "Every member of our staff who encounters and engages with the students is better for it – helping and reminding them to provide compassionate care to all our patients."

Holy Name was selected to participate in Project Search, a collaborative partnership between business, education, workforce and government agencies, vocational rehabilitation, community rehabilitation providers, long-term support agencies and families. It was the first year the initiative was implemented in Bergen County, and was coordinated by the Bergen County Workforce Development Board in Bergen County.

"Hands down, Project SEARCH is the best job skills training program available for young people with disabilities," said Tammy Molinelli, Executive Director, Bergen County Workforce Development Board. "Because of the collaborative partnerships, young people get the skills and education needed to support their goals and skill development for the world of work."

Students involved in Project Search work at a host business site for one school year in an unpaid internship. They receive instruction and are immersed in the workplace, preparing for a successful transition from school to a productive adult life.

"I am so thrilled that our first group of students will be graduating from this program," said Tracy S. Zur, Freeholder Chairwoman, Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders. "With our partners like Holy Name, we have really started to change the conversation to be about the differing abilities of these amazing young people, not their disabilities. I look forward to their placement in meaningful employment as we move into the next year of Project SEARCH."

Eight students at Holy Name worked in departments such as radiology, physical therapy, food and nutrition, nursing unit, gift shop, child care, environmental and maintenance.

"The goal of Project SEARCH is to prepare students to obtain and maintain employment, establish linkages to adult supports and utilize public transportation," said Dr. Howard Lerner, Superintendent, Bergen County Special Services School District. "As we complete this first full year of implementation, BCSS is so pleased to report that we have certainly achieved this goal."