UNION COUNTY, NJ - The Project SEARCH High School Transition Program at Overlook Medical Center, a unique, business led, one-year job skills training program that takes place entirely inside the hospital, will receive financial and other support from the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Through the course of an academic year, Project SEARCH students participate in employment-related instruction and rotate through two to three internships that are individually crafted to capitalize on each student’s individual interests, vocational goals and potential.

Each rotation lasts about 10-12 weeks, and interns work closely with an on-site team, which includes an instructor, job coach and job developer. The team assists the intern until the task assigned can be performed independently. Agencies are available throughout the program year to provide vocational counseling and guidance.

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The on-site team, student, family, vocational rehabilitation counselor, and school representatives meet regularly to discuss issues, progress and career goals. Graduates are prepared to meet employer expectations and to move into a job development phase. They leave the program with a professional portfolio which includes a resume, solid professional references, recommendations and real-world work experience.

In addition to financial support, the amount of which is yet to be determined, the Freeholders pledge other resources will be made available to the program, including staff support in publicizing programs and the provision of any manpower that may be needed for special events.

“Overlook is only one of four locations statewide that hosts Project Search, and we are proud to  be co-sponsoring this program for our residents,” Freeholder Chairman Bruce Bergen said. “Project SEARCH provides teens with the opportunity to become self-sufficient and transition into the work force, which is a very worthwhile goal.”

The Project SEARCH Overlook Medical Center program is currently recruiting for the 2017-18 student cohort, seeking students that meet the following criteria:

- Must be 18-20 years old and plan to still be in high school next school year;

- Diagnosed with a developmental or intellectual disability including those with Autism Spectrum Disorder;

- Basic and effective communication skills (verbal or supported by technology);

- Ability to take direction and change behavior if necessary;

- Desire to work competitively in the community.

An informational session and tour will be held March 1, beginning at 7 p.m., at Overlook Medical Center. To register for the informational session, visit events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event.