The Project SEARCH Program celebrated the graduation of eight students on May 19, 2023, at the Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center.
The graduates are:
•Julien Black, Antietam School District
•Jaedin Bridges, Reading School District
•Austin Ermold, Governor Mifflin School District
•Taylor Krick, Conrad Weiser Area School District
•Kahlil Mason, Reading School District
•Ivan Ramos-Plasencia, Reading School District
•Ryan Syret, Muhlenberg School Distric
•Iziah Velasquez, Reading School District
Project SEARCH is an internship program for young adults with disabilities, providing them with employment experiences through a total immersion in the workplace to prepare them for competitive employment. The partnership Project SEARCH has forged between the Berks County Intermediate Unit (BCIU) and Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center has created an exemplary education experience for Berks County students. This year’s graduates
completed three internship rotations at the Medical Center and have secured jobs at various locations, including Penn State Health St. Joseph and local school districts. The program emphasizes collaboration with community partners and aims to secure competitive employment for people with disabilities.
During the graduation ceremony, Jessica Head, BCIU Program Administrator for Special Education and Student Services shared, “Each of our interns proved themselves worthy of tackling the desire to obtain competitive employment. While nervous when first asked to rise to the level of independence required,
each of them has shown that they can meet the expectation set within the workplace, and often even exceed it. Many of you have turned your goal into a reality. Your current employers are blessed to have you on their team. Others, now know the goal of employment is visible and within reach. I am here to tell you, continue reaching. You’ve got this!”
The BCIU extends heartfelt congratulations to the graduates.