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Jefferson Health Expands Project SEARCH Program at New Jersey Hospitals

Jefferson’s first class of Stratford Project SEARCH interns, shown from left: Andrew Goebel (Woodstown); Clint Lowe (Bridgeton); Jesse Wilson-Hill (Newfield); Stephen Hyland (Sicklerville); and Hugo Kim (Cherry Hill).

A signing ceremony for 14 young adults from Cherry Hill’s Y.A.L.E. School was recently held at Jefferson Cherry Hill Hospital, marking the start of their year-long Project SEARCH work-transition program.

Five years ago, Jefferson Health—New Jersey became the first site in South Jersey to collaborate with the international program for young adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. Starting with this year’s class, Jefferson has expanded the program to include its Stratford hospital—allowing even more students to intern in several departments, including Food Service, Patient Accounts, Storeroom and Environmental Services.

Since the program’s launch, 52 students have participated, and Jefferson Health has employed about one third of the graduates. Others have been hired by various businesses in the community. This program is a collaboration between Jefferson Health, Y.A.L.E. School, the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities, NJ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and Samost Jewish and Family Children’s Service.