Students with Autism Learn Workforce Skills at Hospital

(June 2, 2014) - An article on PilotOnline.com featured Project SEARCH, a Virginia program that provides high school seniors with autism, ages 18 to 22, with jobs at local hospitals that include training across many areas.

Five years ago, Virginia Commonwealth University partnered with the state rehabilitation department and Bon Secours hospitals in Midlothian and Henrico County through Project SEARCH to train high schoolers with autism in entry-level hospital jobs. Eighty-seven percent of those trained at the hospital landed jobs after graduation, compared with 6 percent in a control group of autistic students who stayed at school. The program staff tries to make the work day as normal and realistic as possible. Interns are also trained in on-the-job skills, as well as interviewing, creating resumes, social skills and more. 

When asked what he's learned from Project SEARCH, intern Jason Bathurst said, "Work hard, and don't give up. If you give respect, you get respect."