Internship Program at Danbury Hospital Will Prepare Young Adults with Disabilities for Success
Ability Beyond and Nuvance Health join forces to promote inclusion and independence, bringing internationally-recognized Project SEARCH model to Danbury
DANBURY, Conn.—Local young adults with disabilities may now gain real life work experiences at Danbury Hospital, thanks to a 10-month internship program that launched this fall through Ability Beyond and Nuvance Health.
“We are excited to embark on this journey with partners who actively and deeply share our vision for a more inclusive world,” said Kate Travis, Services Director at Ability Beyond. “Together we will help young adults with disabilities overcome barriers and achieve their career goals with independence and dignity.”
“We are so pleased to be working with Ability Beyond on this innovative program that fosters opportunities for those with disabilities bringing them into the healthcare arena and Nuvance Health family,” said Sharon Adams, President of Danbury Hospital and Eastern Regional President for Nuvance Health.
The program, which follows the internationally-recognized Project SEARCH model, combines immersive workplace training with wraparound employment support, designed to place graduates in competitive jobs at living wages.
“The ultimate goal is for each intern to secure competitive employment within their community,” Travis said. “We leverage our expertise and legacy of successful job placements to make that goal a reality.”
The Danbury Hospital program will run the course of a school year, with interns participating five days a week to complete a total of three job rotations.
The rotations span different areas of the hospital, so interns can learn unique lessons and transferable skills. For instance they may work in environmental services, the maternity ward, the emergency department, food services, patient transport or ambulatory surgery.
During soft-skill classes, students will also learn about such topics as self-advocacy, financial literacy, health and wellness, and technology.
“By fostering an environment where individuals of all abilities can thrive, we're not only enhancing the lives of the participants but also enriching our community and strengthening our workforce,” Travis said.
She added: “This model is effective because it is built on the foundation of a strong partnership.”
This isn’t the first Project SEARCH collaboration between Ability Beyond and Nuvance. In January 2022, the healthcare leaders teamed up to launch the program at Norwalk Hospital that recently earned national recognition. Every participant has successfully found employment after completing the program.
The first Project SEARCH program at Ability Beyond began in 2017, with an enduring partnership between the organization, Montefiore Hospital, New Rochelle Public Schools, and the New York State Education Department.
Other partners include Norwalk Public Schools, Norwalk Community College, the Connecticut Department of Developmental Services, and Connecticut Aging and Disability Services.
Project SEARCH began in 1996 at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and now has over 740 sites throughout the world.
If you would like to learn more about the program at Danbury Hospital, please feel free to reach out to Kate Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org.