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Chesapeake Regional Now Part of Internship Program for Students with Disabilities

Chesapeake Regional Now Part of Internship Program for Students with Disabilities


Chesapeake Regional Healthcare (CRH) is now a host site for the Project SEARCH High School Transition Program, an international school-to-work program that provides competitive work experience for students with disabilities. CRH has partnered with Chesapeake Public Schools (CPS) to provide internships for up to 12 students in the 2015-2016 program.

“We are honored to be working with CPS to bring this program to our community,” said Peter F. Bastone, Dr.PH, president and CEO of CRH. “Our team members love the students and feel privileged to be assisting them in developing skills necessary for future employment. We are happy to share our love of caring for others with younger generations.”

The students come from Grassfield, Great Bridge, Indian River, Oscar Smith and Western Branch High Schools and are in their last year of high school. With the help of job coaches and a special education instructor on site, students work in a multitude of departments including environmental services, the gift shop, materials management, food and nutrition services, occupational health, health information management and more. 

“I’ve learned how to better communicate, how to work as a team member, how to get around the hospital, and I’ve met many new people,” said Haron Williams, who enjoyed making and serving drinks during his time working at All the Perks, CRH’s hospital café.

CRH has recently hired one of the interns as a full-time employee. Sean Harrington, who is the first intern to join the team, began working as a supply technician for materials management in January.

“I make sure the staff members have the right supplies they need for successful surgeries in the operating room,” Harrington said. “I enjoy healing others, and my main goal is to help patients get well!”

Project SEARCH began in 1996 at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center when the co-founder, Erin Riehle, was director of Emergency Management.  Riehle  saw the opportunity to teach students with disabilities how to perform some of the necessary tasks in the department. Since then, it has expanded to over 225 sites across 40 states and four countries.

After CPS was awarded a technical assistance grant,  it implemented the program on Sept. 8, 2015.  Currently, there are 15 Project SEARCH sites in Virginia.  Other partners with the program include the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, The Choice Group and the Virginia Department of Education.

“The school district is so grateful to be able to offer this program to our students, and we are truly honored that Chesapeake Regional is the partner host site,” said Julie Greene, Project SEARCH instructor and transition specialist with CPS.

Students are on target to graduate from the inaugural program at the hospital on June 2, 2016.  The program will begin again with a new round of interns at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year.   Individuals seeking additional information or to inquire about submitting an application to the program are encouraged to contact Lisa Perkins in the Office of Special Education at 757-494-7600.