What’s happening in Rainbow Schools?

Project SEARCH HSN helps students prepare for the workforce

Certificates of Internship were presented to the first group of Project SEARCH HSN participants during the launch at Health Sciences North on August 30, 2022. Participating were, back row, from left, Dominic Giroux, President and CEO of Health Sciences North; Bruce Bourget, Director of Education for Rainbow District School Board; students Devan Boucher, Joshua Depatie, Hannah Sirkka, Ashton Menard-MacDonald and Seth Dumais-Armitage; Erin Riehle, Founder and Co-Director of Project Search Cincinnati; student Dekken Pitawanakwat; Jennifer Witty, Vice-President, People Relations and Corporate Affairs for Health Sciences North; and Colleen McDonald, Principal of Special Education Programs and Services for Rainbow District School Board; and front row, from left, Jennifer Way, Vocational Rehabilitation Team Lead and Emma-Rose Larcher, Job Skills Trainer for March of Dimes Canada; Brian Bigger, Mayor of the City of Greater Sudbury; and students Maija Neva, Holly Bishop, Lily Taylor and Brianna Moxam.

An international program that helps students who require additional support prepare for the world of work has arrived in Greater Sudbury thanks to a partnership between Rainbow District School Board, Health Sciences North, the City of Greater Sudbury and March of Dimes Canada.

Project SEARCH HSN is a transition-to-work program that combines classroom instruction with hands-on training. Students in their final year of high school develop skills required for entry-level employment.

In its first year locally, ten students from Rainbow Schools will engage in three internships in various departments at Health Sciences North. The placements, which are eight to ten weeks in duration, are determined by student interest and skill level. Internships are guided by skilled, experienced staff including a teacher from Rainbow District School Board and two job trainers from March of Dimes Canada.

“Everyone at HSN and HSNRI takes great pride in our organization being a place of learning. Project SEARCH is an initiative that challenges outdated barriers and aims to help create a more inclusive society and we are proud to be part of this partnership,” says Dominic Giroux, President and CEO of Health Sciences North.

He adds: “In September, we will be welcoming our first Project SEARCH cohort – with ten interns who are living with disabilities joining our teams in Pharmacy, Building Services, Food Services, and Laboratory, and other areas. Their support will contribute greatly to our hospital and it will be a privilege to help them develop the skills and confidence they need to thrive and build their futures.”

Maija Neva of Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School says she looks forward to her internships. “I can’t wait. I will work anywhere they tell me.” Seth Dumais-Armitage of Lasalle Secondary School was equally as excited to learn new skills. “After I am finished, I would like to work in a kitchen or maybe in a restaurant,” he says.

Certificates of Internship were presented to the first group of participants during the program launch at Health Sciences North on August 30, 2022. The pioneers had an opportunity to meet the partners who made it all possible.

“Greater Sudbury is the economic hub of the North – a place where people want to live, work and do business,” says Mayor Brian Bigger. “Thanks to Project SEARCH, young adults will gain meaningful prospects, and employers will benefit from a diverse and inclusive workforce.”

“Work is an important part of people’s lives, it helps build confidence, independence and a sense of self-satisfaction” says Lesley Smith, Vice-President of Employment Services with March of Dimes Canada. “Project Search will drive an important impact with our vision to create an inclusive and barrier-free future, supporting individuals with disabilities to reach their fullest potential. Upon completion of the program, our staff will support graduates in finding competitive employment, using the skills learned through the work experiences and throughout the program”.

Project SEARCH was launched in 1996 at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in an effort to promote a vibrant, inclusive workforce. There are now more than 600 Project SEARCH sites worldwide.

“For most of us, our job is the core building block of a fruitful life,” says Erin Riehle, Director of Project SEARCH Cincinnati. “Employment leads to friendships, money, improved health and greater independence.” She adds: “Project SEARCH helps prepare students transitioning to adulthood gain employment and all of the benefits that come along with it.”

“Project SEARCH HSN is a shining example of how partnerships benefit students,” says Bruce Bourget, Director of Education for Rainbow District School Board. “I would like to commend everyone who worked diligently over the past year to bring this program to Greater Sudbury. We thank Health Sciences North, the City of Greater Sudbury and March of Dimes Canada for joining with us to enable students to achieve their full potential. What a wonderful opportunity for students in Rainbow Schools.”

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Media Contact:

Nicole Charette, Senior Advisor
Corporate Communications and Strategic Planning
Rainbow District School Board, 705-674-3171 ext. 7217

Maija Neva of Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School is one of 10 students from Rainbow Schools participating in Project SEARCH HSN.
Project SEARCH HSN participant Seth Dumais-Armitage of Lasalle Secondary School is excited to gain hands-on skills.