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Hackensack Hospital Trains Young Adults With Disabilities

Holy Name Medical Center is teaming up with Hackensack University Medical Center and Project SEARCH to train developmentally disabled individuals for jobs.
Holy Name Medical Center is teaming up with Hackensack University Medical Center and Project SEARCH to train developmentally disabled individuals for jobs. Photo Credit: Holy Name Medical Center Facebook Page

HACKENSACK, N.J. – Two local hospitals are teaming up with Bergen County to offer job training to individuals with developmental disabilities.

The $30,000 Project SEARCH program will set up 10-month-long internships at either Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck or Hackensack University Medical Center.

Project SEARCH — which was started in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 1996 — has a permanent placement rate over 70%, according to Tammy Molinelli, the executive director of the Bergen County Workforce Development Board.

“It’s really centered on the young person and the needs of the young person rather than just trying to fill a need in the hospital,” she said.

Each of the 24 students in the pilot program will have an internship tailored to their skill set and career goals. Both hospitals will have a full time teacher and two job coaches on site to guide the students. The program starts in September 2016.

“The bottom line is, hands on experience is really optimal for them,” said Tara Bohan, a director of instruction with Bergen County Special Services. “It gives them concrete skills.”

The labor force participation rate for people with disabilities is only 19.5%, according to the Department of Labor.

Hospitals are great environments for all types of job training, said Gene Messner, director of staff development and training at Holy Name. The hospital has about 50 departments, so there’s a huge variety of jobs for the interns to try.

“Being a hospital, you’re always a teaching facility,” Messner said. “There’s a mindset of education, training and keeping abreast of things.”

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