A graduation ceremony for nine South Jersey young adults completing a year-long Project SEARCH work-transition program was held at Jefferson Cherry Hill Hospital on June 7. Each student from Cherry Hill’s Y.A.L.E. School interned in several hospital departments, including Food Service, Patient Accounts, Storeroom and Environmental Services. Shown, from left, are the students who received their Project SEARCH graduation certificates: Jordan Wright (Easthampton); Marcus Timar (Haddonfield); Eddie Perez (Camden); Naitri Patel (Hainesport); Owen Muller (Pennsauken); Amelia McKitrick (Cherry Hill); William McAnurn (Haddonfield); Jessica Kelokates (Cherry Hill); and Dalton Hlubb (West Deptford).

Five years ago, Jefferson Cherry Hill Hospital became the first site in South Jersey to collaborate with Project SEARCH — an international work-transition program for young adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. This program is a collaboration between Jefferson Health, Y.A.L.E. School, the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities, NJ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and Samost Jewish and Family Children’s Service.

Since its launch, 38 students from Cherry Hill’s Y.A.L.E. School have taken part in the program at Jefferson Cherry Hill Hospital. About a third of the graduates have been employed by Jefferson Health – New Jersey. Others have been hired by various businesses in the community.