For implementing the first Project SEARCH site in Delaware, Christiana Care has received the Employer of the Year award from the Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT), an international organization affiliated with the Council for Exceptional Children that promotes careers and vocations for the disabled.
“The Employer of the Year award is presented to an employer or business that has shown remarkable commitment to promoting or providing employment opportunities to students with disabilities,” according to DCDT. Christiana Care was chosen from entries submitted from across the country.
Project SEARCH is a nine-month job-development internship for people age 18–21 with cognitive disabilities. As part of their high school transition, interns receive classroom instruction and complete three 10-week rotations in various departments at Christiana Care.
Christiana Care began the program during the 2011–2012 school year. Since then, the Project SEARCH team at Christiana Care has expanded work-based learning opportunities and developed strategies to enhance collaboration between business, schools, the state and our community.
“We don’t see this as a ‘feel good’ program at all but as a program that helps us build our talent pipeline,” said Nicole D’Ambrosio, talent acquisition strategist at Christiana Care. More than 40 students have participated in the program, and 11 have been hired as employees at Christiana Care.
Christiana Care’s partners in Project SEARCH are POW&R (Productive Opportunities for Work & Recreation), CIS (Community Integrated Services), Red Clay Consolidated School District and the State of Delaware’s Department of Education and Department of Labor, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.