Program helps teens with special needs - WFXS, MyFoxWausau - News and Weather for Wausau, WI

Program helps teens with special needs

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MARSHFIELD (WAOW) -

It's been an amazing journey for a couple of teenagers in Marshfield.

These teenagers have had to work a little harder to find a job after high school.

They're getting some extra help over at Saint Joseph's Hospital. 

The transition from high school to the real world can be tough.

Now there's a program helping teens with special needs make that change, and with success.

It's called Project Search. 

"It teaches them employability skills," said Anne Dick, Project Search Instructor.

The program provides students with real life work experience, job training and living skills to help form a successful lifestyle.

"That structure gives them a sense of hope and then a chance to get employment out in the community," added Dick.

Project Search lasts 9 months, Training up to 12 people at a time.

Sean Little is currently a student with the program.

Little already has an internship in the pharmacy section at Saint Joseph's Hospital.

"I get along with my co-workers so well that they're kind of like a family," said Little.

 An internship Little says he never would have been eligible for if it wasn't for this program.

"It has helped me develop my skills," added Little.

"They start to feel like they are a part of a team, and really have a lot of commitment and contribution to our work," said Vanessa Freatig, Sean Little's Supervisor.

Brandon Hart is a graduate of Project Search.

Hart successfully landed a job at the hospital working in the anesthesia department.

"I love my job, I love working here," said Hart.

"I felt good because I thought well I'm getting out of high school and graduating from Project Search and it was a good time," added Hart.

"It's pretty amazing to see someone who had to learn to show up on time, and to do the work, and to learn the skills to being independent and do the skills without having to be coached or prompt," said Pam Schmidt, Brandon Hart's Supervisor.

Pretty amazing for both the teachers, and the students.

Graduation for Project Search is on Friday May 16th.

Some of the people in the graduating class will go on to work in the hospital.

Other graduates will find jobs in other local businesses.

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