BOCA RATON, FL, April 24, 2019 – Adults, aged 18 to 24, with intellectual and developmental disabilities are training for the workforce thanks to a partnership between Boca West Country Club, Project SEARCH, Unicorn Children’s Foundation and Unicorn Village Academy.
Last week five of these adults participated in the Boca West Country Club Project SEARCH Skills Assessment Day in which they were paired one on one with department mentors. During the session, Boca West identified candidates for the August launch of a pre-employment internship-training program. It is expected that all student interns will learn competitive, transferable, and marketable job skills and at least 74% of interns will find competitive and meaningful employment following completion of this intensive program.
The first pre-employment intern class of seven individuals started in August 2018 and will graduate from the program on May 30.
“Unfortunately, 80% of adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities are unemployed despite their desire and ability to work,” said Sharon Alexander, CEO of the Unicorn Children’s Foundation. “We are so grateful for our partnership with Boca West Country Club, which will help these candidates join the workforce and learn valuable skills.
Boca West Country Club President, Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Matthew Linderman, CCM, met with the candidates and their families. “Our first class of pre-employment interns have become valuable and inspiring members of the Boca West family. As they prepare to graduate in May, they have learned so many real life workplace skills that will enable them to future success. We can’t wait to welcome the next class in August.”
About Boca West Country Club Project SEARCH
Boca West Country Club Project SEARCH provides a job training internship program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities which began in August of 2018. Interns range in age from 17-24 years of age which makes it statistically more difficult for them to find jobs upon completion of high school. By providing extensive internship opportunities, it is expected that at least 74% of interns will find competitive and meaningful employment following graduation. Boca West Country Club is the first private residential community in the world to participate in this internationally renowned program.
About Project SEARCH
Project SEARCH’s primary objective is to secure competitive employment for people with disabilities. Project SEARCH at Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati began in 1996 and provides education and on-the-job training opportunities, which has led to permanent employment for nearly 75% of individuals with disabilities who have completed the program. This collaborative model has proven to be very successful at meeting employer needs while placing persons with disabilities in long-term employment. Since its inception, Project SEARCH has grown from a single program site at Cincinnati Children’s to a large and continuously expanding international network of sites with replication in 45 states and 9 countries.
About The Unicorn Children’s Foundation, Inc.
Unicorn Children’s Foundation is a 24-year-old non-profit organization that is dedicated to building communities of acceptance, support, and opportunity for kids and young adults who are challenged by special needs and neurodiversity by supporting or developing it cradle to career pathways. Our initiatives connect families to community resources, advocate for inclusive opportunities, respect differences, empower individuals, and support success. With 1 in 6 children being diagnosed with a developmental or learning disorder, we believe it is our responsibility to create a world where all children’s potential can flourish.
About Unicorn Village Academy, Inc.
Unicorn Village Academy (UVA) focuses on the “whole student” teaching them life skills, employment preparation and academics. The curriculum encourages independence, self-advocacy, and preparation for life. A high school for 13-22 year old students with developmental and learning challenges that provides a safe and dignified learning environment to explore and realize true abilities and potentials. Using an innovative, strength-based teaching model, integrating academics, social and inter-personal communication strategies, students will develop the necessary skills to successfully transition to work, college and independent living. Unicorn Village Academy will give each student the opportunity to live out their own dreams and control their own lives and fully engage in the community in which they live.