TORRINGTON — The ARC of Litchfield County announced that Project SEARCH has begun. During the past year, LARC has been working with Charlotte Hungerford Hospital to develop the model for this new program, which began this past fall. Project SEARCH provides classes in employability skills, independent living skills and internship experience to individuals with disabilities for people between the ages of 18 to 35. LARC’s partner, CHH, is providing internships in various departments such as cardiovascular medicine and nutritional services.
“This is a very proud moment – two organizations with a common purpose, coming together to do some good,” said Brian Mattiello, vice president for strategy and community development at CHH.
“The agency, with leadership from our vocational and day services director Tom Stanton, has been aggressively working to transform our vocational program to align with changing requirements and community needs,” said Executive Director Michael Menard.
“Individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities are capable of working competitively and deserve to be paid a competitive wage,” he said.
According to Pamela Tino, program coordinator at CHH, “we look forward to welcoming more interns to learn valuable and transferable life employment skills and supporting their success for years to come.”
Kathy Riberdy, LARC’s project search coordinator and special educator, shared that the two interns in the program are already learning many valuable employability skills.
Project SEARCH program is designed to be a one-year program and is based on a school year.
The Connecticut Department of Developmental Services is collaborating with national Project SEARCH as part of its commitment to helping people with intellectual disabilities find, get and keep community-based, competitive wage jobs.
In early 2018, LARC was chosen to be one of ten agencies nationwide to participate in the National ARC’s pilot grant program with Boston University’s Institute for Community Inclusion’s Provider Transition Network.
The purpose of the program is to assist in the process of provider transformation towards competitive integrated employment.
LARC’s goal is to educate staff on the processes needed to provide competitive integrated employment to individuals in the agency’s current group supported employment programs.
LARC is a nonprofit agency in Northwest Connecticut founded in 1964 by families to support loved ones with intellectual and developmental disabilities. On a daily basis, LARC serves 200 individuals with disabilities throughout Northwest Connecticut.