Project SEARCH

The Beginning

In early 2018, Wayne Memorial Hospital, in conjunction with the Wallenpaupack, Wayne Highlands and Western Wayne School Districts and the Wayne County Office of Behavioral and Developmental Programs and Early Intervention launched a Project SEARCH Program.

Real-Life Work Experience & Training

In an effort to find competitive employment for every student, Project SEARCH provides real-life work experience combined with training in employ-ability and independent-living skills to help young people with significant disabilities make successful transitions to productive adult life. The Project SEARCH model involves:

  • Continuous feedback from teachers, skills trainers, and employers
  • Extensive period of skills training and career exploration
  • Innovative adaptations
  • Long-term job coaching

On -Site Training

The schools are committed to providing the students for the full year of on-site training at Wayne Memorial Hospital and hopefully in other local businesses as well.

Project SEARCH Enters Third Year at Wayne Memorial Hospital

HONESDALE -- Nine area high school students began preparing for internships at Wayne Memorial Hospital  in early September 2020. They will serve  in departments ranging from Dietary and Housekeeping to Maintenance and Central Supply.

 Project SEARCH, a national program designed to help individuals with developmental disabilities find meaningful and competitive employment, has been well received at the hospital since day one in 2018.  CEO David Hoff said the hospital’s participation was a “no-brainer” and his administration was not only pleased to be involved but “always looking for reliable employees.”

Students interning with Wayne Memorial Hospital as part of Project SEARCH pose for a photo.

To date, Project SEARCH has rotated 16 students from Wayne Highlands, Wallenpaupack, Western Wayne and North Pocono school districts through Wayne Memorial.  Each student participates in three ten-week rotations in various departments. 

A student from the first year’s program, Nicholas Litz, found work afterwards at Woodloch Resort and was recently profiled in the Tri-County Independent newspaper.  When he was at Wayne Memorial, Nick worked in the kitchen, where Food services Supervisor Cathy Layton said at the time of the Project SEARCH interns, “they were such a great group of kids and such a pleasure. They made me smile when they came to work.”

Project SEARCH at Wayne Memorial collaborates with several entities, including The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Wayne County Behavioral and Developmental Programs and Early Intervention, and Living-Unlimited, a Harrisburg-based community rehabilitation provider, which assists individuals with cognitive and/or physical impairments. Living-Unlimited provides services that ultimately help their clients function and flourish in their communities.

All the interns will follow strict COVID-19 safety protocols, as is required for all Wayne Memorial Hospital employees and volunteers.

Photo, back row, left to right: Michael Stadtler; James Moore/Skills Trainer-Living Unlmited; Grace Ruckinger/instructor- Wayne Highlands; James Giacobbe/Skills Trainer –Living Unlimited;  Angela Cykosky; Lauryn Graham. Front, left to right: Jessica Cann; Anthony Krol; Nicole Roberts; Gracie Box; Sean Smeal. Missing from photo: Jordan Diaz.