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'I have so many dreams": Students at Academy for the Blind get internship with Atrium Health Navicent

The partnership started 5 years ago and this is the first year the internship is back post-COVID-19 pandemic.

MACON, Ga. — A lot of people use internships to get experience in the real world. Some students at the Georgia Academy of the Blind are getting their chance to do something new. 

Rickoy Johnson is visually impaired, but he has big plans.

"I have so many dreams but my biggest dream is I want to be in the business field," Johnson said.

Now, he is getting the opportunity to prepare for his future through an internship between the Georgia Academy for the Blind and Atrium Health Navient Rehab Center.

"Students work in a partnership business. They have 3 rotations so at the end of that one year they have a resume, references, and experiences in at least 3 marketable skills," Cindy Gibson, the superintendent of the academy said.

"They are out in the community; we are preparing them for the world as well. We do not want the world to feel sorry for them and we want them to go out in the real world and be successful," Alicia Jackson, the transition principal said.

The partnership started 5 years ago and this is the first year the internship is back post-COVID-19 pandemic.

Students will hit the hallways of Atrium Health Navicent this fall for job training tailored to their interest.

Here is a statement from Atrium Health Navicent about the program:

Atrium Health Navicent will partner with the Georgia Academy for the Blind and a national program called Project SEARCH, an internship program that prepares young people with significant disabilities for success in a competitive integrated employment environment. The partnership began over 5 years ago and this is the first year hosting interns post COVID. The current internship program will start in the Fall 2022 and Atrium Health Navicent Rehabilitation Hospital will host four interns.

The interns’ job training will be tailored to their interests. Interns will learn job duties and responsibilities from various departments including Environmental Services (EVS), Facilities Management and the Switchboard. Previous years’ job training included greeters, linen services, dining services and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA).

Partnering with the Georgia Academy for the Blind enables Atrium Health Navicent to continue to align with our “For All” mission. It’s important that everyone learn job skills that will shape them both personally and professionally. Internships such as these enhance our relationship within the community and ultimately it provides future job opportunities to the young men and women of the program.

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