Students with developmental disabilities learn job skills through Project SEARCH

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. (WLS) -- Transitioning from high school to the work world. An internship program in Lake County called Project SEARCH is helping young adults with developmental and cognitive disabilities learn job skills.

A collaboration to help young adults succeed. The non-profit Clearbrook, the Special Education District of Lake County and the Illinois Department of Human Services has partnered with Sedgebrook Senior Living Community in a Program called Project SEARCH.

"It's about a 9-month program and the students participate in three internships. So they actually work side by side with an employee from Sedgebrook and learn different job skills. In addition to the job skills they learn they also spend some time in the classroom learning how to do a resume, learning how it interview for a job as well as other appropriate behaviors in the workplace," said Deanne Daniel, executive director of Sedgebrook.

From painting to landscaping to food service and the care center, students are learning it all. In addition to career skills they are also developing social skills.

"Learning to interact with different people. So they're interacting with our employees, they're interacting guests, as well as the residents and their family members. So I think they got a lot out of the social aspect of the program.

Interns like Daniel Marquez say the program is preparing him for the future.

"Getting the opportunities that they were going to give you and be prepared for what's next down the line," Marquez said.

Bill Laggett is one of the residents at Sedgebrook that had the chance to see Daniel at work. He says he's impressed by his achievements.

"My experience is that it's helping people in a positive way. It's making people come out of their shell if you will and learn something and be able to take care of themselves. 00:58:39:25 I thought about this from maybe their parents viewpoint. These are young adults and they have to make sure they can take care of themselves because the family isn't going to be there all the time. I just felt good about that," Laggett said.

This is the first year for the internship program and 8 out of 10 students have landed jobs including Daniel.

He has been hired on at Sedgebrook as a prep cook and he says his family is proud.

"They were proud of me that I finished already because that way I can prepare myself to live on my own when they are not here," said

Daniel and his fellow interns graduate on Monday.
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