Now in its second year, program helps students with disabilities gain work experience
RIO RANCHO, N.M. – Presbyterian Rust Medical Center's second class of Project SEARCH students graduated on Tuesday, May 8.
Now in its second year at the hospital, Project SEARCH is a 36-week program that provides skills training and workplace internships for high school students ages 18-22 with disabilities. Students complete certification training and three different rotations in areas such as food and nutrition, patient transport, administration and security.
"We are very proud of our students and excited for what the future has in store for them," said Sandy Aschenbrenner, instructor, Project SEARCH program at Presbyterian Rust Medical Center. "They have spent the past 36 weeks gaining the skills and experience they need to be successful in whatever career path they choose."
In addition to gaining valuable work experience and job-specific skills, students learn professional communication, teamwork, résumé writing and interview skills. Many of the students already have jobs secured at Presbyterian Rust Medical Center and other businesses such as Chick-fil-A and Dion's.
"We are also so grateful for the continued support of Presbyterian and the staff at Rust Medical Center," added Aschenbrenner. "We could not do it without them or our partners at Rio Rancho Public Schools, Adelante Development Center, Inc., Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, New Mexico Department of Health and the University of New Mexico – Center for Development and Disability."
Nine interns have already been selected for the 2018-2019 program, which begins in August. Erika Black, a teacher with Rio Rancho Public Schools, will be joining the program as Sandy Aschenbrenner is retiring.
About Presbyterian Healthcare Services
Presbyterian Healthcare Services exists to improve the health of patients, members and the communities we serve. Presbyterian is a locally owned, not-for-profit healthcare system of eight hospitals, a statewide health plan and a growing multi-specialty medical group. Founded in New Mexico in 1908, it is the state's largest private employer with more than 11,000 employees.