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Project SEARCH intern update

Posted by Christine Schulz on September 27, 2016

Goodwill Project SEARCHEarlier in the year I wrote about our Project SEARCH program that has truly been changing the lives of the young adults who are participating. I wanted to give you an update on these interns. On June 8, 2016, our 11 Milwaukee County Zoo Project SEARCH interns successfully completed the program. The completion ceremony was one of my proudest moments in my career at Goodwill as it has been an incredible journey to see the program develop from the ground up. Most of all, I am impressed with each intern as each one has come so far in developing their independence, confidence and skills.

Goodwill Project SEARCH Milwaukee County Zoo graduates

The goal is to help all 11 of the interns obtain jobs in the community once they finish the program. Currently, eight of the interns are now employed at various locations throughout the Milwaukee area and I would like to share an update on some of the interns and what they are doing now:

Trevor works at Nassco in New Berlin. He picks orders and helps load trucks with different supplies that customers order. With Trevor’s energy and enthusiasm to work we are currently coaching him one day a week and only when he is packing the truck.

Zach is really thriving at Meijer. He's great at the tasks, very independent, and has excellent coworkers to support him. The supportive environment really adds to his success. He hopes to gain more responsibility as time goes on.

Liz started her first day of work the following Tuesday at the Goodwill Store in New Berlin and it went very well. She was very positive and learned so quickly! Since Liz enjoys listening to Josh Groban songs, she gets especially excited when one of his songs comes on the store radio.

Mikayla is currently working at Aquatics Unlimited. She works there twice a week. She is responsible for cleaning out the cricket cages, the worm dishes, the goldfish tanks, organizing displays, cleaning out the lily ponds, feeding the beta and tetra fish, packaging, weighing and pricing products, All the skills she learned during her experience with Project SEARCH at the Zoo have transferred with her. She is a very quick learner and already a valued employee at Aquatics Unlimited. Her favorite observation to point out is that the crickets at the zoo chirp louder than the ones at Aquatics Unlimited.

King is currently working at Home Depot where he greets customers with a great smile and wonderful personality. King has been doing a great job of memorizing the store so that he knows which aisle to send customers to when they ask for specific items. If he is not sure of where an item is located, he has a Home Depot App on his phone that he utilizes. With King being able to speak Spanish he is able to communicate with Spanish speaking customers – which are an added bonus! King also checks customer’s receipts when they leave to ensure they have everything and didn’t forget something at the register. King is doing a great job and really enjoys what he is doing!

Written by Christine Schulz

Christine Schulz is Manager of Supported Employment and Community Access and also oversees the Project SEARCH site at the Milwaukee County Zoo. Christine and her teams are motivated to help individuals with disabilities prepare for, obtain and retain community jobs. Each day, Christine sees transformative change within our communities as more employers see the value that individuals with disabilities can bring to their workforce. Being a part of making this happen is what inspires her to give her all each and every day to her team and the work that they do together. Christine has been with Goodwill for 5 years since November of 2010.

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