Like many people, Kenny had always held various part-time jobs, and he knew that if he wanted something more long term, something he could call a career, he would need to gain new skills. He just wasn’t sure where or how to get them.
A conversation with a friend about his experience as an intern with Project SEARCH* at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin peaked Kenny’s interest. He applied for, and was accepted into, the Project SEARCH program for the 2012-2013 school year.
In his three internship rotations, Kenny worked at the hospital’s welcome center, helping hospital visitors and answering their questions. He also worked in two areas of the environmental services department, cleaning hospital rooms during one rotation and cleaning offices at the hospital’s corporate center in another.
His rotations in environmental services helped him realize that he liked cleaning. “I didn’t think of cleaning as something I could do for a job until I worked in Project SEARCH,” Kenny said.
With the skills and confidence that he gained through his experience, Kenny applied for a job at Community Memorial Hospital in Menomonee Falls. He interviewed independently and got the job! He is responsible for doing exactly what he found he liked most – cleaning exam rooms, offices and public areas in the Women’s Health Center.
Besides a paycheck and the increased independence that it gives him, Kenny thinks the best part of working is meeting other people and making new friends. He enjoys taking breaks with and getting to know his co-workers. Surely there will be many more life changing conversations with friends that lie ahead for Kenny!
*Project SEARCH is an exciting transition program for young adults with disabilities. The Easter Seals Project SEARCH program is a collaboration with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and ProHealth Care, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, local school districts and long-term funding options. It provides employment skill building through internship rotations within the hospitals. The end goal is integrated community employment.