Each year, a group of interns are selected and given the opportunity to work and develop themselves.
Project SEARCH interns celebrated the conclusion of their time in the program Wednesday in a ceremony at the Early College and Career Center in Elizabethtown.
A total of nine interns, who are students with disabilities that have completed their high school coursework at Hardin County Schools or Elizabethtown Independent Schools, participated in the program this school year,
which is the fourth year of
the program in the Hardin County area.
The program partners with Dow Chemical Co. in Elizabethtown. However, this year’s program saw the inclusion of a second host business, Baptist Health Hardin.
The interns in this year’s program were Eli Benningfield, Daniel Neptune-Crutchfield, Isaac McFarland, Hannah Sullivan, Austin Taylor, Madison Vance, Cheyenne Worrill and Jonathan Larimore, who was the master of ceremony of the event.
“We have grown a tremendous amount this year,” Larimore said.
Dow site leader Nick Powell said this is the third graduation event for the Project SEARCH interns. He said in anticipation of this year’s interns, they decided they needed a second business partner.
Sara Lynn, executive director of FINCK, said representatives from the hospital heard about the project at a Hardin County Chamber of Commerce meeting and wanted to get involved.
Interns either worked entirely at Dow, entirely at the hospital or could move back forth between the two institutions.
Powell said with this year’s group, he was struck again with the amount of hard work they completed.
“I’d say a quarter to a third of employees that we hire … don’t make it through one year. And so that in itself is a tremendous achievement you all should be proud of,” Powell said.
Skills trainers Theresa Smith and Karie Pettus gave each intern that attended a graduation plaque and diploma and the opportunity for them to speak about what they were able to take away from the program.
Neptune-Crutchfield took that opportunity.
“I’m gonna take away my kindness … and everything around that I learned from Dow into my own mindset,” he said.
Pettus said the point of the project is to allow the interns to gain experience and competitive employment. Some of the interns this year will continue working at their respective host business, including Sullivan, who worked at the hospital.
“I’ve just been able to be stable and be on my own and learning new responsibilities every day, and just keep growing and learning each and every day,” she said at the event.
Andrew Harp can be reached at 270-505-1414 or email@example.com.
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