4 students complete Project SEARCH internships at KDMC

Published 4:00 pm Saturday, May 21, 2022

Project SEARCH is a national program that provides an opportunity for competitive employment for young adults with special abilities and disabilities. To reach that goal, the program provides real-life work experience combined with training in employability and independent-living skills to help young people with disabilities make successful transitions to productive adult life.

King’s Daughters Medical Center has partnered with the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services and Brookhaven School District to provide the opportunity to gain these skills.

The interns have spent the last 9 months at KDMC rotating through different departments such as materials management, therapy services, imaging, pharmacy, out-patient surgery, dietary and environmental services. The goal for the intern is to learn the skills needed and be able to get a full-time job with the hospital or other local business.

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The interns are mentored daily by employees with supervision from Project Search coaches and teachers as they progress through the internship. Kathy Halliwell is the lead instructor for Project SEARCH.

“Our Project SEARCH interns have completed their training rotation and will be entering the workforce world soon. I cannot say enough about the environment we have experienced at KDMC and their willingness to adopt Project SEARCH. This is truly a great partnership,” said Halliwell.

The partnership with KDMC, MDRS and BSD is one of 13 Project SEARCH partnerships across the state. The program is growing quickly. 

“It has been so rewarding to watch our KDMC family embrace these young men and women and see them gain so much confidence in themselves,” said KDMC Director of Marketing David Culpepper.

“The success of Project Search programs in MS hospitals is phenomenal. Many hard to fill, ground level positions can be taught to the interns who participate,” said Celine Craig, KDMC Chief Human Resources and Regulatory Officer. “Our staff are engaged and involved in helping our interns be able to learn, grow and help us with our workflow processes. Seeing the light in an intern’s eye when they are asked to be an ‘employee’ in our organization is worth the time and effort spent getting them onboard.”

“Brookhaven School District strives for every student to reach his or her highest potential and become effective, positive members of our society,” said Brandy Myers, Director of special Services for Brookhaven School District. “The collaborative between BSD, MDRS, and KDMC has offered the opportunity for former students with disabilities to find their place in the adult world, right here in our community. With open minds and hearts, KDMC has embraced and supported our former students allowing them to grow into the adults we knew they could be.”