MACON, Ga. — Some students who graduate high school hop right into their career search, and now, the Bibb County School District wants to help. Through "Project SEARCH," students with disabilities can explore possible careers through a nine-month internship.
Jhonshia Morgan will start project SEARCH this coming August. She says she's looking forward to this new journey.
She says it, "Prepares students with disability for success with job ready skills."
Morgan graduates this year. Right now, she helps her mom with daycare and says she'd like to make a career out of it.
"Because it is excellent and I like helping out with others," Morgan said. "I love kids."
Liz Baughman with Bibb County Schools says the program gives students an option to earn a paycheck and one day live on their own.
"They're thrilled when they get their first paycheck to pay their own bills, to know that they are accepted and valued in society as well," Baughman said.
Project SEARCH provides nine-month internships so students can explore possible careers and get skills in the job application process.
Students can work at places like grocery stores, bookstores, Subway, the Starbucks cafeteria, and the library.
"This is an opportunity for these children to get the training and the education they need to get a job," Baughman said.
Jennifer Wright understands how rewarding getting a job can be. Her daughter has Down syndrome and works at Publix.
Wright is also an instructor with Project SEARCH. She says at the end of the day, "What every parent wants for their kid is for them to be happy, to be successful, and to be loved."
Project SEARCH is already a national program, but Wright says she hopes to see it grow even more in Bibb so more students, campuses, and businesses can get involved.
Wright says if students find a job they love and stay there, the program tracks the students for the next two years to make sure they are employed for the minimum of 16 hours and that they have a competitive wage.