For Greene County News
BEAVERCREEK – Through Project SEARCH, students receive workforce training during their last school year, which prepares them for job placement following graduation. There are currently 42 Project SEARCH programs in Ohio. Soin’s program was one of four recognized nationally, achieving 100 percent placement of their students.
“We believe our goal should be about careers for life,” said Project SEARCH Coordinator Elisabeth Cline. “We were able to place all of our students into a job and they have kept those jobs for a year – that is how we received this recognition.”
Cline is proud of the advancements the program has made in its third year at Soin, “It’s really been amazing helping these students develop transition-to-work skills. The mentors at Soin are various staff members from different departments. They train and equip our students with the skills they need to succeed.”
“Our students learn through their mentors, and are successful because of those mentors,” said Cline. A few of the students have even obtained employment with Soin Medical Center and their sister Kettering Health Network (KHN) hospital, Greene Memorial.
The program currently has nine students with a maximum of 10 students permitted each year. Project SEARCH is a partnership of the Greene County Career Center, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, the Greene County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Soin Medical Center.
“I have witnessed students start at one level and move up from part-time to full-time after being placed. I am proud of the staff’s ability to help these young people step up and become part of these wonderful communities.”
One student who now works at Greene Memorial started part-time at a local nursing home and was promoted to full-time before coming to Greene.
“In some of our students these opportunities can be truly life-altering. We aren’t just helping them with their skills, we are also building lives,” she added.
In addition to work experience, Cline seeks to cover a variety of educational areas with the students to help them further develop skills, such as relating to co-workers, becoming independent and contributing to the community they live in. “We’re teaching real marketable skills that will enable students to seek competitive employment opportunities,” she said. At the end of the school year, the program recognizes students and the mentors with a luncheon – graduating their students from the program.
Cline continues to set goals for the program, which include adding a 5-student program to Greene Memorial and developing more sites that will employ students.
Cline has been involved with special education for 22 years. She holds a master’s degree as well principal’s licensure and Project SEARCH Coordinator licensure.
Cline looks forward to another successful job placement of all nine of her current students.