Project Search Participant Loves UVMC Job
|Patti Moore, left, talks with Bre’Anna Harrison-Lee about her work at UVMC.
A smile spreads across the face of Bre’Anna Harrison-Lee as she talks about her new job in environmental services at Upper Valley Medical Center (UVMC).
She found she liked the job’s tasks while participating in the Upper Valley Project Search program, applied for an opening and became the first Upper Valley Project Search intern to be hired by UVMC. She started work on third shift in early March.
Project SEARCH is a high school transition program designed to provide training and education on the road to employment for individuals with disabilities. It was launched in Cincinnati in 1996 and introduced at UVMC via the Upper Valley Career Center in 2010.
“The hospital family is pleased to have had the opportunity to host the local Project SEARCH since its inception,” said Tom Parker, UVMC president and chief executive officer. “By providing this real-life working environment, we can help prepare these young people for the workforce in the communities we serve,” he said. “Supporting valuable partnerships such as this is an important part of our community benefit mission.”
Local Project SEARCH partners, in addition to UVMC, include the Upper Valley Career Center in Piqua, the Board of Developmental Disabilities in Miami and Shelby counties, and the state Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation.
Patti Moore, Upper Valley Project SEARCH coordinator, works with the interns, job coaches and work site supervisors at UVMC. The goal of the nine-month program is to help each of the interns become “a more independent person” and ready to compete in the job market, Moore said. She emphasized that the interns are not actual employees, but are “strictly students in training.”
The interns defer their high school diploma while participating in the program. Their initial work experience comes through rotations in departments such as nutrition, rehabilitation, cardiopulmonary, volunteer and environmental services.
Harrison-Lee, 19, is a resident of Troy. She entered Project Search last fall after attending Troy High School two years and studying horticulture at the Career Center for two years. She will receive her diploma in May.
Her experiences at UVMC began in Volunteer Services, where she helped escort patients, answer phones and worked in the hospital Gift Shop putting up merchandise, assisting customers and cleaning.
Harrison-Lee said she enjoyed the work, but immediately found satisfaction when she started a rotation in hospital housekeeping.
“On the first day, I fell in love with it… with the patients. You go in, and if you have a bad day, it lifts you right up,” she said. She said she enjoyed her co-workers and learning her tasks, now done third shift mostly in the ED.
Moore said it soon was apparent Harrison-Lee was comfortable in the role. “We saw she had ability. But she also had a passion, a love … and that opened the door to employment,” she said.
In securing the job, Harrison-Lee participated in the regular hiring process with the support of Project Search job coaches. She will continue to have support through 90-day retention, and beyond as needed.
Project Search also has worked with Harrison-Lee on taking steps toward obtaining her driver’s license and one of her main goals, moving into an apartment with her twin sister. Harrison- Lee also finds time to volunteer at Troy’s Lincoln Community Center and is active in her church. She said she has changed “tremendously” since being accepted into Project Search. “It has empowered me to do more in the workforce,” she said with a smile.
To learn more about the local Project SEARCH, call (937) 440-7431.