Eleven Project SEARCH interns were recognized at their graduation ceremony on May 31 at Ascension Mercy Hospital, part of Ascension Wisconsin. Guest speakers included Danielle Williams, Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, and Alan Ott, District Director for U.S. Rep. Glen Grothman.

Project SEARCH is a school-to-work program that takes place entirely at the workplace. Ascension Mercy and Franciscan Courts – the retirement home for the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, one of Ascension’s historic sponsors – are the work sites for Project SEARCH in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The focus of Project SEARCH is on helping youth with disabilities make successful transitions from school to adult work life. Ascension Mercy and Franciscan Courts partner with the Oshkosh Area School District, Goodwill Industries, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and other agency support services for the benefit of the interns.

While completing their year of training in the program, interns learn a variety of jobs skills in two of the hospital’s patient care units and the hospital’s birthplace, surgical services, environmental services, food and nutrition services, outpatient behavioral health, and maintenance. At Franciscan Courts, they are placed in the areas of nursing, environmental services, dietary and maintenance.

This is the third graduating class for Oshkosh Project SEARCH. Of the interns from last year’s group, nine of the 11 are employed. Ascension Mercy and Franciscan Courts have both hired past interns.

Photo: The project SEARCH interns, instructor and skills trainers.