Mercy Health celebrates 2022 Project SEARCH graduates

Mercy Health - Springfield celebrates 2022 Project SEARCH graduates. From left to right: Braden Griffith, intern; Jeana Baucant-Koon, instructor; Rebecca Self, intern; EJ Loewer, job coach; Alex Wright, job coach; Kamarion Knox, intern; and Sara Reed, intern. Contributed

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Mercy Health - Springfield celebrates 2022 Project SEARCH graduates. From left to right: Braden Griffith, intern; Jeana Baucant-Koon, instructor; Rebecca Self, intern; EJ Loewer, job coach; Alex Wright, job coach; Kamarion Knox, intern; and Sara Reed, intern. Contributed

The project prepares students with disabilities for life after school.

Mercy Health - Springfield celebrated four 2022 graduates from Project SEARCH, which prepares students with disabilities for life after school.

Each year, Mercy Health hosts a group of high-school aged students with disabilities to give them an opportunity to receive on-the-job training through internships in different areas of the hospital such as the emergency department or human resources, Mercy Health announced in a release.

“Project SEARCH immerses students into a real work atmosphere from day one,” said Jeana Baucant-Koon, the Project SEARCH coordinator. “Among other skills, students are taught workplace safety, team building, professional etiquette, technology, financial literacy, customer service skills, and they get to practice professionalism with support from job coaches and mentors.”

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Mercy Health works with several community partners, including the Springfield-Clark Career Technology Center, United Rehabilitation Services, Developmental Disabilities of Clark County, and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities to prepare interns for jobs after high school. Since launching the program in November 2011, 94% of the intern’s found employment within their first year of graduation, and Mercy Health has hired 23 interns from the program.

“Our community is impacted greatly by teaching and training students with disabilities who are an untapped and underused workforce. By hiring a person with a disability, they are showing others that they are open to working with a community of folks that bring a great work ethic, dedication, and positivity into their workforce,” Baucant-Koon said.

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The program not only helps interns find employment, but it also helps them maintain it once employed by offering them help with driver’s training, accessing benefits and other assistance.

“Our hope is that our graduates can be as independent as possible within their community,” Baucant-Koon said

For more information, visit mercy.com, or schedule a tour of the project site by contacting Baucant-Koon at jeanabaucant@scctc.org or call 937-523-5479.

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