June 1, 2021

ProjectSEARCH Students Graduate from 9-Month Employment Training Program

Program geared toward helping young adults with disabilities learn transferable work skills

On Thursday, May 27th the Project SEARCH Seacoast NH class of 2021 gathered at Portsmouth Regional Hospital to celebrate their commencement from the nine-month employment training program. The internship program, hosted at Portsmouth Regional Hospital and developed in partnership with Great Bay Community College, NH Vocational Rehabilitation, and Community Partners,  is geared toward helping young adults with disabilities learn transferable work skills and professionalism with the ultimate goal of competitive employment.

Program graduates, Kristen Anderson, Darren Baker, Kyle Diemer, Jack DiPietro, Kyle Morrison and Steven Sullivan all successfully completed the program over the course of nine months. Throughout the pandemic, Project SEARCH graduates were able to work remotely at Portsmouth Regional Hospital and the at Fairfield Inn. All six Project SEARCH Graduates have already employed.

Graduate Steven Sullivan from Farmington, NH was selected to speak at the graduation (by the Project SEARCH interns and the Project SEARCH team). As part of his speech, he thanked the staff of Portsmouth Regional Hospital and then shared his experiences in the program. Steven interned in the cafeteria, the dishroom , concierge and human resources. His tasks included stocking food items, putting dishes in their designated spot, passing out masks and escorting patients to their appointments.

“I love working at Portsmouth Regional Hospital because I get to help patients and visitors and make everyone feel better” said Sullivan. “I appreciate all of the doctors, nurses and staff who work here because they are good frontline workers and they are important.”

Nick Toumpas, former Deputy Commissioner at the State of New Hampshire DHHS and Executive Director of Connections for Health was the keynote speaker at the event. He spoke about the challenges the interns faced this year, their role as teachers in the workplace and the most rewarding aspect of his role as a Business Advisory Council member—being an email mentor to a Project SEARCH intern.

“I would ask you all that you keep in mind what you have accomplished over the past year and let that be a reminder of what you can do” said Toumpas. “I read the other day a quote from Wayne Gretzky, a great hockey player who shared ‘you become good at what you do because you commit to becoming better each and every day.” 

Project SEARCH Seacoast New Hampshire is a nine month workforce training program aimed at competitive employment. Monthly information sessions are held on zoom. The next information session will be on June 16th at 5 pm.  For more information visit their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProjectSearchSeacoast/ ), Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/projectsearch2020/ ) or website http://www.greatbay.edu/btcsearch.