Bon Secours celebrates 2022 Project SEARCH Graduates
Program Helps Students with Disabilities Prepare for Employment After School
Bon Secours St. Francis Health System celebrated the Class of 2022 today, with its 11 Project SEARCH interns marking their successful completion of the program.
Each year, the hospital hosts a group of students with disabilities from Greenville County high schools to provide them the opportunity for real life work experience through internship rotations in the hospital environment. The goal is to help them prepare for and find fulfilling and productive jobs after high school.
“Project SEARCH provides a community within our ministry that helps the intern grow into confident, independent citizens who can work with supportive staff and feel a part of a bigger picture,” said Cheryl Johnson, the Project SEARCH Workforce Coordinator. “Many of our interns have found employment that is challenging, sustaining and satisfying.”
Together with the Greenville County School District and South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation, the Project SEARCH program at Bon Secours St. Francis provides hands-on training and school-required academics. This is done both virtually and in real-time, providing the best educational opportunities for interns.
This is the program’s largest class to date, with more room to grow in the future following a summertime renovation project that created the Joseph J. Pazdan Project SEARCH Center – a world-class, interactive classroom learning environment. The updated facility added extra space for classroom instruction and new training rooms, designed to reflect patient care areas, where interns can practice their skillsets.
“This program immerses students into a real work atmosphere from day one, but employment is just part of the goal. We want these young adults to grow into confident, independent citizens who are making meaningful contributions to their community,” said Johnson.
Since its debut in 2017, 94% of Greenville’s Project SEARCH interns found employment upon graduation. That includes 17 interns who were hired on by the health system, a move leaders hope will set an example for other Upstate businesses.
“Not only do Project SEARCH interns reflect the diversity of our community, they’re also an untapped and underused workforce – one that should be valued for their skills but also appreciated for their uniqueness,” said Bon Secours St. Francis Market President Matt Caldwell. “By hiring a person with unique abilities, businesses are showing others that they are open to working with a community of folks that bring a great work ethic, dedication, and positivity into the workplace.”
Bon Secours St. Francis Health System
Bon Secours St. Francis Health System is part of Bon Secours Mercy Health, one of the 20 largest health systems in the United States and the fifth-largest Catholic health system in the country. The ministry’s quality, compassionate care is provided by more than 60,000 associates serving communities in Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Ohio, South Carolina and Virginia, as well as throughout Ireland. Bon Secours St. Francis Health System provides compassionate medical care to thousands of area residents through Bon Secours St. Francis Downtown and Bon Secours St. Francis Eastside, as well as a network of primary and specialty care practices, and ambulatory care sites across the Greenville region. The mission of Bon Secours St. Francis Health System is to extend the compassionate ministry of Jesus by improving the health and well-being of our communities and bring good help to those in need, especially people who are poor, dying and underserved. For more information, visit BonSecours.com.