Project SEARCH Autism Enhancement Graduation 2024

Jun 24 2024

Project SEARCH Autism Enhancement Graduation 2024

On June 18th, six participants of our Project SEARCH Autism Enhancement program graduated from their internship positions, celebrating their achievement with parents and friends in a small ceremony at the New York-Presbyterian Westchester Behavioral Health in White Plains.

Project SEARCH Autism Enhancement (PS-AE) is a ten-month internship program for young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It was created by NEXT for AUTISM in partnership with The Arc Westchester, New York-Presbyterian Westchester Behavioral Health, and The Center for Autism and the Developing Brain (CADB) and is supported by the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). PS-AE offers a total immersion in the workplace, facilitating the teaching and learning process, as well as the acquisition of employability and marketable work skills.

Guest speakers included Dr. Philip Wilner, Senior VP and COO, New York-Presbyterian Westchester Behavioral Health, Gillian Leek, Chief Executive Oficer, NEXT for AUTISM, Inc., Teresa Bucello, Partner, Greater Hudson Valle & CT Midmarket Health Growth Leader Mercer, and Tibi Guzman, Chief Operating Officer, The Arc Westchester.

This year has been truly special with six interns who have been a joy to work with. I am proud of our graduates and confident in their readiness for employment and successful independent lives. The skills they acquired and gained in the PSAE Training Room and during their internships at New York Presbyterian Behavioral Health have equipped them for meaningful careers. I wish each of them the very best as they embark on their future journeys!

The four young men and 2 young women shared the experience of  their individual internships, what they learned from each unique experience and their goals for what they would like to accomplish in the future. They made a video presentation of the year in review and each graduate addressed the guests and thanked their staff, internship supervisors, and families for supporting them during this journey. After their speaches, each graduate was present4ed with certificates to officially recognize their completion of the program. Congratulations!

When we started the program a little over a decade ago, we never thought that it would become a national model”. 

Our 2024 Project SEARCH Graduation Class!

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