Success Story – Nathan, Catholic High School

10.05.16 Success

Back to all posts

nathan

Success Story – Nathan, Catholic High School

2014 Graduate of Project SEARCH® Arkansas: ACCESS®

Initiative

Nathan, a graduate from Catholic High and the Project SEARCH® intern program, didn’t venture far from his old stomping grounds to find a career that was meaningful for him. His alma mater welcomed him with open arms and was thrilled to have one of their own back on the field with the CHS Rockets.

As an employee at Catholic High School, Nathan assists with maintenance around campus while also helping to ensure the playing field is ready for game time and injuries are handled with care.

Nathan’s parents have been big supporters of both he and the Project SEARCH program, encouraging him throughout the entire process. “It has been great to see such dedicated professionals at Project SEARCH have such passion for Nathan’s vocational and personal development,” says Johnna and Alan McClain.

“Do not hesitate to give your child this freedom and opportunity to take the next step. It will open up crucial worlds for him or her,” Johnna and Alan encourage other parents of young adults with disabilities. “Project SEARCH is a safe place to discover strengths and talents. Interns find an environment full of encouragement, a safe haven to learn from trial and error, and a place to grow personally. This program gives individuals with disabilities a means to gain independence, dignity, and pride in learning to do a job well done.”

 

Success Story – Liz, Embassy Suites

10.05.16 Success

Back to all posts

liz

Success Story – Liz, Embassy Suites

2014 Graduate of Project SEARCH® Arkansas: ACCESS Initiative®

Liz began Project SEARCH® as a withdrawn personality unwilling to engage individuals. She was living day-to-day with the struggles of Autism. Little did she know, her world was about to change. Liz entered the Project SEARCH internship, and she began to learn valuable social and work skills blossoming into a more focused and self-confident young woman.

As an employee of Embassy Suites, Liz has learned to engage with others, to push herself to keep going and stay focused on her tasks at hand. Whether she is preparing housekeeping carts or making sure the facility is in tip-top shape, her new-found confidence gives her the determination to get things done.

“Liz had a strong desire to find meaningful work. She knew how unhappy she had been staying at home with no true direction,” recalled Liz’s mom Ann Hodges. “When she was hired, she shared with everyone ‘I have a job!’ She works very hard to complete her duties because she knows that other employees count on her.”

Hiring an employee with disabilities changes the lives of those individuals,” said Ann. “Other employees at the business are usually very supportive of the co-worker with a disability, and being a part of someone else’s success at work is generally rewarding for everyone involved.”

 

Success Story – Devon, Dillard’s Distribution Center

10.05.16 Success

Back to all posts

devon

Success Story – Devon, Dillard’s Distribution Center

2014 Graduate of Project SEARCH® Arkansas: ACCESS® Initiative

Take a walk through the Dillard’s Distribution Center and mention Devon’s name. No matter who chat with, you will be met with an ear-to-ear grin. Fellow Dillard’s employees consider Devon a “blessing,” and there is nothing they would do for him. He is part of the team.

Devon spends his days in the distribution center quality checking items before they make their way to the retail store shelves for Dillard’s customers to peruse. But his favorite responsibility includes getting to ship the inventory he checked to a particular store.

Project SEARCH® hasn’t just given Devon paycheck, it has helped shape Devon’s life. “Devon is more confident and exhibits a greater connectivity with the people around him,” says Devon’s family. “He realized that he was chosen for Project SEARCH because of who he is and what he can contribute. That same idea and work ethic has carried over to his work. Someone values his worth and his attitude reflects it.”

“Hiring an individual with a disability grounds us as a company,” explained Dale Moore with Dillard’s Distribution. “It gives that individual an opportunity he or she may not have had otherwise.”

 

Success Story – Derrick, UAMS Nutrition Services

10.05.16 Success

Back to all posts

derrick

Success Story – Derrick, UAMS Nutrition Services

2014 Graduate of Project SEARCH® Arkansas: ACCESS® Initiative

If you enter the cafeteria at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), the first thing you’ll see is Derrick’s smiling face. No matter the day or the task, Derrick takes it on with a smile. As an intern with Project SEARCH®, he knew that a job in Nutrition Services was his ultimate goal. Today, Derrick gets to fulfill his dream as he happily fills plates with the daily specials and a warm greeting at the UAMS cafeteria.

Not only has Derrick found meaningful employment in career he loves, but he has gained important skills along the way. “I have seen such an increase in his confidence, maturity, and willingness to take chances and face different circumstances,” said Cynthia Powell, Derrick’s mother. “Derrick no longer feels that he has a disability. Instead, he sees that he has the ability to make a difference, not only in his own life but others as well.”

Hiring someone with a disability gives individuals so much more than a job. “The impact is priceless,” Cynthia explained. “I couldn’t put a price on it if I tried. The Project SEARCH program has given Derrick the tools for success, and he finds nothing but encouragement along every step of the way.”

Success Story – Becky, Jim Dailey Fitness and Aquatic Center

10.05.16 Success

Back to all posts

becky

Success Story – Becky, Jim Dailey Fitness and Aquatic Center

2014 Graduate of Project SEARCH® Arkansas: ACCESS® Initiative

Becky isn’t your typical individual. She is an athlete. In 2007, she became an Olympian when she traveled to Shanghai to compete in the 2007 World Special Olympics. But Becky and her family were seeking something more, and Project SEARCH® was able to fill the void. Upon graduation, it was clear that a career in fitness would be the perfect fit for Becky. And that is how she became part of the team at the Jim Dailey Fitness and Aquatic Center.

As part of Becky’s daily routine, she ensures the cleanliness of the fitness area and equipment. Her warm and inviting personality makes people feel welcome and at home.

“We were worried that after high school, Becky’s world would shrink and that she wouldn’t be as involved in the community,” recalls her mom Ann. “Becky’s job through Project SEARCH has given her the opportunities she needs to keep growing and give back to the community.”

“We’ve heard too many times that business owners cannot find stable, dependable and motivated employees, so they often end up with high turnover and poor attitudes,” says Ann and Hollis Carter, Becky’s parents. “They have nothing to lose by hiring an individual with a disability, but they will gain a devoted employee that will look forward to work every day!”

 

Success Story – Aaron, Iberia Bank

10.05.16 Success

Back to all posts

aaron-1

Success Story – Aaron, Iberia Bank

2014 Graduate of Project SEARCH® Arkansas: ACCESS® Initiative

Meet Aaron, 2014 graduate of UAMS Project SEARCH® and building a life with Autism. What was once a shy young man, is now a vibrant individual, someone that team at Iberia Bank’s Mailroom can count on. Aaron’s daily responsibilities include ensuring all items are properly sorted, packages are accounted for, and mail is en route to its appropriate destination.

According to Loretta, Aaron’s supervisor at Iberia Bank, Aaron has had a personal impact on so many of his fellow employees. “I love that kid,” beamed Loretta. “He has taught me so much about the potential of individuals with disabilities, particularly those on the spectrum. “He is accountable, determined and always there if I need him.”

Aaron’s family has seen significant changes in Aaron since going through the Project SEARCH internship program and beginning his career with Iberia Bank. “He is more confident around strangers,” they explained, “and instead of avoidance behaviors, he holds eye contact, converses more easily, and is more comfortable with others.”

So, why should you hire an individual with a disability? According to Glen and Tamara Woodruff, Aaron’s parents, “You will earn a faithful, highly competent, productive, and grateful employee.”