CIRCLEVILLE, OHIO — At OhioHealth Berger Hospital, student participants from Project Search provide vital assistance to healthcare workers while learning new skills on the job. Project Search is an international program that connects high school students who have physical or developmental disabilities with employers who provide internships that teach practical skills. OhioHealth has hosted many students throughout the years, and while the pandemic put the program on pause briefly, it’s back in full swing at Berger.
At Berger, Project Search participants experience different hospital units in nine-to-12-week rotations. Throughout the year, they can choose their preferred areas in which to assist. Previous participants have worked in the radiology and imaging, logistics, nutrition services, same-day surgery, and environmental services units — to name just a few.
“There’s a difference between acknowledging someone and including someone,” Tracy VanHorn, Volunteer Coordinator at Berger said. “Many students with learning differences struggle to feel a part of their community. This program encourages students with developmental disabilities to see their true value and learn applicable skills while helping them forge connections within the community.”