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Shawnee Mission School District and Shawnee Mission Health Partner to Give Students with Disabilities Career Training

Project SEARCH is the first program of its kind in Johnson County to serve students who are still eligible for school-based services.

11/30/2018  |  By Morgan Shandler

Shawnee Mission Health and the Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) have partnered to offer a unique, school-to-work transition program called Project SEARCH. The program helps students who have disabilities establish the necessary skills to obtain paid employment.

Project SEARCH is the first program of its kind in Johnson County to serve students who are still eligible for school-based services. The program involves an extensive period of training, career exploration, innovative adaptations and job coaching, along with continuous guidance from an instructor, skills trainers and employers.

"Students have the opportunity for three internships within the hospital setting," said Jackie Chatman, director of SMSD’s Special Education department. “We focus on communication, problem-solving skills, and how to work in a team to help prepare them for the workplace.”

Students attend the program for a full school year at Shawnee Mission Health. The site is staffed by a SMSD instructor and two job-skills trainers. This allows students the opportunity to work internships while still participating in lessons designed around team building, navigating the workplace, workplace safety, technology, social and communication skills, presentation skills, interviewing skills, money management, health and wellness, job search skills and maintaining employment.

“We are excited about the partnership with Shawnee Mission School District and the opportunity to give students with disabilities to the chance to learn, grow and gain job skills in order to successfully enter the work place." says Amy Milroy, director of the Lee Ann Britain Center for children with special needs at Shawnee Mission Health. “This year’s interns are already an asset to the departments they’re working with and have become an integral part of the Shawnee Mission Health culture.”