We are currently in our second year at the Zoo and have 13 interns who are participating in the nine month program this year. The interns completed their first internship rotations before the holidays and are now in their second rotations. The goal for each of the interns is to obtain community employment once they finish their experience. All of the interns will be completing Project SEARCH in early June.
I enjoy sharing the successes of our interns as they learn and develop each day. Hannah is an example of this. When Hannah began Project SEARCH, she was very quiet and had a difficult time remaining in the training room with the other interns, as it was too much stimulation. I had the opportunity to join our first tour of the Project SEARCH year at the Zoo back in October.
Hannah’s first rotation was in the small mammal building which is a rotation that requires our interns to strictly follow the safety rules and be able to demonstrate an ability to work independently, as there are only two Zookeepers that are present. Hannah was also one of the interns we visited during the tour and I was impressed with her comfort in public speaking. This was not the same, shy Hannah I had met on the first day. She had confidence and was positively beaming as she shared all of the different tasks that she was learning. In fact, Hannah was adding more tasks to her list each day as she was learning so quickly.
Recently, Hannah also had the opportunity to present in front of our Project SEARCH Business Advisory Council. She was able to confidently share her Power Point presentation in front of the group of various employers in the room. Hannah’s second rotation is in the Animal Health building and she is continuing to build her self-confidence and independence in this rotation. Hannah continues to be one of the interns that we visit each time that we conduct tours at the Zoo.
This year, we are finding new ways to engage employers who are interested in learning about Project SEARCH and offer an opportunity to meet our interns.
One of those ways is through our Project SEARCH employer tour dates. We held two employer tour days last year and they were very successful and well attended. This year, our employer tour dates will be held in the spring on April 11 and on May 16. We encourage local employers who have an interest in touring at the Milwaukee County Zoo to come on one of these two dates and meet Hannah and our other interns!
If you have any questions, please feel free to send me an email at Christine.Schulz@goodwillsew.com.