Students of a New Federal Project Graduate, Pursue Jobs at the U.S. Department Of Labor

Monday, July 5, 2010

Assistant Secretary Kathleen Martinez recently congratulated nine high school students with disabilities who graduated from a new Department of Labor work experience program. The Project SEARCH Federal Sector Program was founded by ODEP and its project partners: Project SEARCH Cincinnati, The District Of Columbia (DC) Public Schools, the DC Rehabilitation Services Administration/Department on Disabilities Services., and the Kennedy Institute of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Washington.

The students' graduation ceremony was held in the USDOL Auditorium and featured remarks by Assistant Secretary Martinez; Michelle Rhee, Chancellor DC Public Schools; Dr. Richard Nyankori, Deputy Chancellor, Special Education Department, DC Public Schools and Roy Albert, Deputy Director, DC Rehabilitation Services Administration, Department on Disabilities Services.

The Project SEARCH Federal Sector Program features both a classroom embedded in the USDOL worksite, and three work experience rotations. The Project SEARCH model has been very successful in assisting students with disabilities who might otherwise not be employed in competitive careers. The graduates, who are in their last year of high school, received work experience in general office and computer skills as well as the general skills required in the world of work. Four graduates have since been hired by the USDOL, three more have been hired by outside firms and others are interviewing with other employers. Recognizing the program?s value, two more federal agencies have approached USDOL and Project Search Cincinnati about starting their own Project Search programs.

Project SEARCH was founded by Cincinnati Children's Hospital to serve people with disabilities through innovative workforce and career development. Through this process, employers are educated about the potential of this underutilized workforce while meeting their human resource needs. The program is dedicated to workforce development that benefits the individual, community, and workplace.

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