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Getting To Know Project SEARCH

May 26, 2014, 6:10 PM by Leland Steva

Getting To Know Project SEARCH
BROOKINGS, SD -

A non-profit organization in Brookings is trying to help students with disabilities get jobs outside of school. 

For students with disabilities, the transition from school to the workplace can be difficult. Project SEARCH is trying to make it easier for six students in the Brookings area. For five days a week, the students gain skills doing different jobs around the campus of SDSU.

"The ultimate goal of Project Search is competitive employment. Clearly we want all of these students who want to work and who are willing to work, and who want to look for employment when the program ends," Job Coach Kyrsten Zimmerman said.

Each student is part of the Brookings school district, and between the ages of 18 and 21.
Along with the experience, they get job coaching along the way.

"Seeing the growth and the development of these students. We started in August and just the progress that we have seen in terms of these students learning transferable and marketable and useful job skill," Zimmerman said.

Frances Squashingroff is one of the students receiving that coaching. She works at a convenience store on campus, and she's enjoyed her experience.

"Yes I have been, because I've been learning a lot of stuff," Frances Squashingroff said.

She has excelled at her job, and once she completes Project SEARCH, SDSU Dining will offer her a full-time position.

"The big impact that Frances made on our team was her positive attitude and her continued willingness to always be willing to above and beyond to help out," SDSU Dining Director of Operations Arian Bunde said.

Squashingroff says Project SEARCH has given her much more than a job, she now has confidence which will help her long after she leaves the program.

"I'm actually a good leader and that they like how much I work," Squashingroff said.

And Project SEARCH hopes to have more success stories like Squashingroff in the future.

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