DAYTON, OHIO (WDTN) – One local program is creating job opportunities for people with disabilities. Project Search is a transition-to-work training program for 5th year seniors located at Springfield Regional Medical Center.

This program provides internships that can lead to community employment for students with developmental disabilities. URS teamed up with Springfield Clark CTC, Developmental Disabilities of Clark County, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities for Project Search.

Brooke Martinez, Director of Volunteer & Auxiliary Services at Mercy Health said it’s wonderful to be a part of something so special.

“We have such great interns that walk through our doors,” Martinez said. “They’re always such a bright light, always smiling and they help so many of our departments throughout the hospital, we’ve hired a lot of those interns once they’ve graduated.”

Martinez said the program helps integrate the interns into the hospital and coaches them with job and life skills.

They’re able to integrate all these students and interns into our system that they can help them job coach in, they can learn on the job skills, life skills, they really bring a great set of diversity to our system.

“It brings great advantages to the interns but also to the company,” Martinez said. “We have had a lot of great experiences through the years and it helps with patient care, it helps with our staff morale, it helps the interns, so I think it’s kind of a win-win collaboration for everyone.”

Kristen Fager, a graduate of the Project Search program says it’s not only helping interns as employees, but as people as well.

“I used to be this very shy person when I came in, wouldn’t talk to anyone, no eye contact or anything, but then after these experiences, Project Search just changed my life,” Fager said.