As of today, the interns from the 2016-2017 class of Project SEARCH are officially graduates! Project SEARCH is an education and employment program managed by Johnson County Developmental Supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are 18 years of age or older and interested in community employment.
On Tuesday night, 16 interns received their diplomas in front of an audience of nearly 100 friends, family members, JCDS staff, JCDS governing board members and representatives from the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners.
Johnson County BOCC Chairman Ed Eilert spoke at the graduation ceremony and praised the program as being one of the most progressive and innovative Project SEARCH models in the country. In his remarks, JCDS governing board Vice Chair Dale Chaffin shared with the interns two secrets to keeping a job: attendance and a positive attitude.
The keynote speaker was Alexandria Mitchell, a Project SEARCH intern last year who is now working as a correspondence coordinator for Sunflower Health Plan. Her advice to the interns was “keep your options open, try new things, set goals and keep a positive attitude no matter what gets in your way.”
The first class of Project SEARCH, in 2014-2015, consisted of seven interns, all of whom are currently employed in the community. The 2015-2016 class had a 75 percent job placement rate. In the current year, three interns secured employment prior to graduating.
Photos from the graduation ceremony are available online.