Ten Socorro Independent School District students are participating in a year-long internship program known as Project Search, which assists students with disabilities in their last year of high school to learn employability skills and transition from high school into the workforce. The SISD program is in partnership with The Hospitals of Providence-East and the students are participating in a variety of internships at the hospital.
“Our ultimate goal for these students is to get them employed,” said Monica Gasca, Project Search instructor for SISD. “Whether they get hired here at the hospital or elsewhere.”
Students in Project Search not only acquire competitive, transferable, and marketable skills, they gain independence, confidence, self-esteem, and maturity.
Sarah Jimenez, a senior at Montwood High School, said she is a proud participant of Project Search. “Working at the hospital is the best thing in my life,” Jimenez said. “My parents are so proud of me as well as my teachers and my friends.”
Jordan Golston, a senior from Socorro High School who works as a transporter, said he enjoys working for the hospital. “I like helping people. I like working at the hospital because I learn so much from it.”
After Project Search, students may seek employment at the hospital or anywhere their skill sets are needed.
Project Search and the SISD transition team’s efforts are making a difference as evidenced by their employment placement rate. Last year, Project Search was successful in helping 87 percent of the SISD students in the program to obtain employment within the community.
According to the Bureau of Labor & Statistics data, the national employment average for individuals with disabilities for 2020 was 19.7 percent.
Project Search is a collaboration between The Hospitals of Providence, Emergence Health Network, Workforce Solutions, Empowering Hands, Socorro Independent School District, Texas Workforce Solutions, Project Search and the El Paso Community Foundation.