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Project SEARCH finds success as more area interns graduate

RIVER FALLS, Wis. 05/23/2017

A new group of Project SEARCH interns from River Falls, Hudson, Ellsworth, and Plum City will complete the program on Thursday, June 1, at 3 p.m., in a celebration ceremony on the Allina Health River Falls Area Hospital’s campus. The international internship program for people age 18-25 with disabilities, now in its second year, has helped 91 percent of its past interns secure employment after high school graduation. 

Project SEARCH was held in River Falls for the first time in the 2015-2016 school year as a partnership between the host site – River Falls Area Hospital, part of Allina Health – and community partners supporting the student interns: Bridge for Community Life, River Falls and Ellsworth school districts, TMG, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and ContinuUs.

This year, students again participated in three rotations of approximately three months each during the school year, working in hospital departments including Nutrition Services, Emergency Department, Housekeeping, Environmental Services, Medical-Surgical Unit, Administration and more.

Carsen Whitebear, a Project SEARCH intern from River Falls, completed rotations in the hospital’s Administration and Infusion departments. She says the internship has taught her organization and communication, which will assist her with future career goals. “I want to work in daycare. I like kids and I have younger siblings, so I help with them.”

“Project SEARCH provides our interns an opportunity to gain skills and confidence to pursue employment. They are then able to experience things like a daily sense of accomplishment, have social interaction and friendships—what we all look for in our work lives,” said Cynthia Bayer, quality manager and the River Falls Area Hospital Project SEARCH liaison. “We welcome employees of all abilities on our campus and are impressed every day by the initiative and passion our interns show in their daily work.”

Project SEARCH will continue for a third year at River Falls Area Hospital in September. For more details on the program, contact Fabreann Buffington at 715-307-6023 or fabreann.buffington@rfsd.k12.wi.us.

About Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH was developed at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in 1996 to train people with developmental disabilities with the skills needed to secure competitive employment. Since its inception, Project SEARCH has grown from a single program site at Cincinnati Children's to more than 300 sites across the United States and Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, and Australia. Find more at projectsearch.us. In River Falls, Project SEARCH is a partnership between the host site – River Falls Area Hospital – and community partners Bridge for Community Life, River Falls and Ellsworth school districts, TMG, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and ContinuUs.

About Allina Health

Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health cares for patients from beginning to end-of-life through its 90+ clinics, 12 hospitals, 15 retail pharmacies, specialty care centers and specialty medical services, home care, home oxygen and medical equipment and emergency medical transportation services

For more information, visit us at allinahealth.org, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Healthy Set Go.