With the right attitude, education and experience, there is a world of fulfilling part- and full-time jobs available to people with a range of disabilities. At Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital and Lankenau Medical Center, Project SEARCH interns can complete up to three 12-week internship cycles which teach transferable skills, professionalism and job development skills in order to submit job applications on the mainstream market.
Vocational education: our approach
Project SEARCH is a yearlong program that runs Monday through Friday, 9:00 am–2:00 pm. Interns who have been accepted into the program complete their first of three 12-week internships at one of the classroom sites for the program, either Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital or Lankenau Medical Center. The first internship includes classroom education for one hour each day in addition to four hours of internship work. Both classroom education and the first internship are based out of the classroom sites.
Interns who are in their second and third internship rotations do not have the classroom education portion; therefore they intern for five hours each day. These internships are hosted by our various business partners. Partner companies providing internship experience include:
- DiOrio Agencies, State Farm
- Dunwoody Village
- Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA
- White Horse Village
- YMCA of Greater Brandywine
Through a wide variety of classroom and real-life experience, interns gain a range of skills they’ll need in the working world from the job search, application, and interview process to acclimating to the professional environment. They practice:
- Work readiness and professionalism
- Appropriate dress for the work environment
- Physical, mental and emotional coping skills
- Effective communication techniques
- Written communication skills
- How to confidently and proactively disclose a disability
- Interview strategies and practices
- Application techniques
- Developing a peer support network
Job coaches also play an important part in the internship process, ensuring that tasks are properly completed, anticipating and solving challenges, facilitating conflict resolution, and conducting evaluations. Ultimately, the job coach fades out of the intern’s day-to-day life, as they gain the skills to master their responsibilities independently.
If an intern does not successfully secure competitive employment at the conclusion of their third internship, they enter into a 16-week job development phase. Job coaches support interns during each phase, focusing on job searching, application completion, follow up calls, interview preparation and execution, as well as tracking all progress.
Adults of any age, if they have the desire and the willingness to gain the skills they need, deserve to succeed on the job. A positive job experience enriches the worker’s family and social life, in addition to professional life. It also shows the world at large that every person has something to offer, despite physical or cognitive challenges.