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Project SEARCH helps young adults with disabilities graduate, prepare for workforce

Posted at 8:03 PM, Jun 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-01 22:18:06-04

STURTEVANT, Wis. — A group of recent high school graduates have received a unique certificate to help them transition to the workforce.

"What Project SEARCH has meant to me is the ability to advocate for myself and taking more responsibility and discipline," said Spencer Lake, who just completed a nine-month internship.

According to its website, Project SEARCH is a business-led collaboration that enables young adults with disabilities to gain and maintain employment through training and career exploration.

Seven students received their completion certificates on Wednesday in a ceremony at Gateway Technical College. Their program was a partnership between the state, Racine Unified School District and community businesses.

Lake and the others spent nine to 12 months working at Andis Company. He learned assembling and packaging.

"It took a lot of courage and a lot of discipline to complete this and responsibility," he said.

Project SEARCH says 95 percent of students complete their internships and 88 percent now have jobs in Wisconsin.

"I've seen him become a lot more confident in himself, advocate for himself a lot more. That's always been kind of an issue for him," said Mary Lake, Spencer's mom.

Spencer starts a new job Lakeside Curative Services on Monday doing what's he's been trained to do — assembling and packaging.

"I'm just feeling grateful and really happy that I accomplished this. I'm proud of myself," he said.

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