County Executive Isiah Leggett today welcomed 12 young adult interns to a one-year transition program designed for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are either in the last year of high school or recent graduates.
Project Search Montgomery is a key component of Leggett’s commitment to increasing opportunities for persons with significant disabilities to work in Montgomery County government. The County is collaborating with the Rockville-based Ivymount School and SEEC, an adult rehabilitation provider, in launching the program.
“I am pleased to welcome our first group of interns to Project Search Montgomery,” said Leggett. “It is vitally important that we set an example for the business community in providing opportunities for all individuals who want to work, and I look forward to seeing these interns in many areas of County government.”
The program targets individuals whose main goal is competitive employment and who will benefit from an extensive period of training, long-term job coaching and continuous feedback from teachers, job coaches and employers. The interns will work in the Departments of Finance, General Services, Permitting Services, Public Libraries, Recreation and Transportation, along with the Office of the County Executive and the Office of Human Resources.
The cornerstone of the Project Search model, which was founded in 1996 and operates at more than 150 sites nationally, is total immersion in a business setting. Participants will be onsite at Montgomery County departments for a minimum of six hours daily for 10 months and will rotate through three different work experiences to build their skills in various job settings.
At the end of the program year, Project Search interns will have gained transferable, market-ready job skills and will graduate to gainful employment either in County government or elsewhere in the community.
Individuals participating in the program receive State funding for their job coaches and other supports. The County received a grant for start-up costs associated with the program and is providing classroom space for interns in Rockville.
Project Search Montgomery will build on the successes of the County’s Customized Employment Public Intern Program which began in 2001 and has helped place more than 65 individuals with disabilities in paid internships in County departments such as Correction and Rehabilitation, Environmental Protection, Health and Human Services, and Finance. The County also participates in the QUEST Internship Partnership with the Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services. Since the partnership began in April, five interns have been placed in County departments.
For more information, call Gail Nachman at 240-777-2537 or Steve Banks at 301-318-4948.
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