Project SEARCH is a collaborative employment program between the Oshkosh Area High Schools, Mercy Medical Center, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and Goodwill Industries. This program works on improving skills, reaching career goals, and being able to implement these goals in the work field.
The Project SEARCH interns started their first job rotations at Mercy Medical Center and Franciscan Courts this fall. There are 12 interns in the program this year. Interns are assisting in the areas of PCU 1, PCU 2, Birthplace, Outpatient Behavioral Health, the Health Foundation, Environmental Services and Food and Nutrition Services at Mercy. At Franciscan Courts they are helping in the areas of Nursing, Environmental Services, and Maintenance.
The interns complete three work rotations within the internship gaining opportunities to explore different types of job skills in a variety of areas. At the start of their day they learn skills in a classroom setting led by an Oshkosh Public School teacher, and then they work in their assigned area learning and completing specific tasks.
“The interns are fortunate because they see how the working world works,” Dana said. At the end of the day they come together and discuss how their day went.
This program has been successful at Mercy Medical Center. The employees of the hospital are very welcoming of the interns and have even expressed interest in hiring them. Scott Schuld, Manager of Food and Nutrition, raved about how well his interns were doing, “Angel and Cooper are great workers. Angel is always smiling and always wants to be helping out.”
The interns seem to be enjoying what they are doing at the hospital. Deanna, one of the interns, mentioned that she wanted to work with people who have special needs. Working alongside the patients and talking with them has given her experience that she can use in her future career. “I just go right in and talk with them,” she said. “It’s just easy to do.”