For Hub City Times
MADISON — Project SEARCH was one of eight projects that received a 2016 Standing Up for Rural Wisconsin Schools, Libraries, and Communities Award during a program and reception Nov. 9 in Stevens Point.
Presented annually to nominated projects that “demonstrate the great potential and collaborative spirit of rural Wisconsin,” this year’s recipients join 97 programs recognized since 2005.
“Wisconsin’s rural heritage is held together by the people who work to support children through strong schools, libraries, and communities,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “The individuals and organizations that we recognize for Rural Awards demonstrate the great potential and collaborative spirit of our state’s rural communities.”
The 2016 award winning-programs are:
—Career Education Cooperative.
—New Richmond High School Agriscience Program and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Prairie Plug Project.
—M.E.C.C.A. Trail Revitalization.
—Northern Waters Environmental School Watershed Initiative.
—Denmark Rural Fiber Bandwidth Initiative.
The Project SEARCH team, headquartered in the Marshfield School District, works together with 13 surrounding school districts and several adult service agencies to provide an alternative vocational training program for adults with disabilities between the ages of 18-24. This Project SEARCH program is a business-led school-to-work program that takes place at Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital.
Total workplace immersion facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and hands-on training through three unpaid internships. Interns are on-site at the hospital or 16 local businesses for nine months between September and May, learning employability skills that will help them gain future employment in the community.
During each new school year, previous graduates flock back to welcome the new interns, developing friendships, providing support, sharing in successes, and staying connected.