Raven SantanaJan 22, 2018, 6:55 pmJan 23, 2018, 2:54 pm

Hackensack high schoolers with disabilities experience working in the healthcare field

Project Search teaches students transferrable job skills

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HACKENSACK — High school students with developmental disabilities received a chance to work side-by-side with life-saving professionals, like doctors, nurses, and EMTs at Hackensack Hospital.

Justin Bischonf is one of eight students involved in Project Search, a 1-year business-led internship program for students with developmental disabilities, who is in their last year of high school at Hackensack University Medical Center.

“Transition is always very difficult. In their traditional high school, K-12 experience there’s a lot of support. So, the great thing about Project Search is that we focus on skill sets,” said Bergen County Workforce Development Board Executive Director Tammy Molinelli.

Project Search teaches students job skills that can be used in any number of careers.

“It’s really important I’m working on my communication skills. I bring in family members to see their patients and bring the patients to the operating room. That’s an important job, yes it is,” said Ambulatory surgeries intern Catherine Benintende.

Hackensack University Medical Center is one of two hospitals involved with the program; the other is Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck.

Of the students who participated in the program last year, Bergen County says 91 percent were employed.

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