3 NJ hospitals partner to help children with disabilities

Three New Jersey hospitals, along with Bergen County, are partnering for the first time on an initiative to provide students with special needs with the opportunity to obtain an internship and to apply the skills they learned to real-world jobs, according to NJBiz.

Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center, Teaneck-based Holy Name Medical Center and Vorhees-based Kennedy Health are partnering with Project SEARCH, a program geared toward helping individuals aged 18 to 21 gain independence through a combination of workplace immersion, classroom instruction, career exploration and hands-on training through worksite rotations, according to the project's website. The program originally began at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in 1996.

Eleven high school students from the Bergen County Special Services began working in various departments at HackensackUMC in September.

Officials at Holy Name and Hackensack said they plan to continue to program next year.

"It has been exciting to see not only the departments involved directly with students, but the entire medical center rally around this program and contribute to its success," said Hackensack President Ihor Sawzcuk, MD. "The department supervisors and administrators have been very welcoming and accommodating to the program and individual student needs. Team members have been introduced to a variety of teaching methods, individual learning styles and training techniques. By hosting one of the first Project SEARCH classes in New Jersey, HackensackUMC has made a positive change in the community, in the lives of the interns and our team members."

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