Project SEARCH Year 1: Roadblocks, Detours and Success

Play Recording(1 hour 5 minutes)

Handouts: Project SEARCH Year 1 PowerPoint   *   Daily Evaluation Report Project SEARCH   *   Hudson County PS Application (English Extended Deadline) with DVRS Referral  *   Monthly Vocational Report and Progress Review

Resources: Danielle’s Interview   *   Guillermo’s Video   *  Johneisha’s Video   *   Instructor Video

Description: This presentation will explore challenges that are commonly encountered with starting a Project SEARCH Program. The Hudson County Project SEARCH Program launched in September 2018 at two host business sites – RWJ Jersey City Medical Center and DoubleTree by Hilton Jersey City – to address the needs of young adults that are transitioning to the workplace. Although there are transition programs available in the area, this program is unique as it administered through the County’s Office of Disability Services and has the full support of local government. Challenges such as securing a host business site to recruitment of a program that many were unfamiliar with to the inclusion of a blended program that includes high school and adult interns will be addressed. In addition, intern case studies/narratives including family involvement, mental health and possible termination will be discussed. With every challenge and roadblock that was encountered, the importance of a strong steering committee has allowed the program to thrive and become recognized within the community.

Presenters: Erin Ross Burgess is the Program Coordinator for the Hudson County Office of Disability Services. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (concentration in Developmental Psychology) from Rutgers University – Douglass College and a Masters in Counseling from Seton Hall University. Erin has been employed local government for 17 years providing services to low- to moderate-income individuals who have identified as needing essential services. One of her roles as the ODS Program Coordinator, she is the coordinator for the Hudson County Project SEARCH program which has two host business sites – RWJ Barnabas Health Jersey City Medical Center and DoubleTree by Hilton Jersey City.

Yolanda Fuller, the VP of Community Based Employment for Hudson Community Enterprises, has over 20 years of expertise in the Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling Field and is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. For 10 years, she has worked exclusively with the WFNJ population with the goal of helping individuals seek, obtain and maintain suitable employment. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University, a MA in Rehabilitation Counseling from New York University and is certified by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.

Jasmin White is a Transition Coach for Hudson Community Enterprises and Skills Trainer for Project SEARCH. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from William Paterson University of New Jersey. She worked with high school students with special needs and cognitive (Mod/Mild) impairments since 2017. Most recently she functions as the Skills Trainer for Project SEARCH and is assigned to RWJ Barnabas Health-Jersey City Medical Center. Jasmin monitors and coaches the students at various work sites in hospital. She is involved with development and implementation of strategies to assist the students’ work efficiency and overall development.

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