The Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD) recently hosted its first Project SEARCH at Kennedy Krieger Institute intern. Project SEARCH is an internationally recognized program that seeks to secure competitive employment for individuals with disabilities.
In November, the MCDD staff interviewed candidates from Project SEARCH at Kennedy Krieger Institute. Potential interns met with staff attorneys at Project HEAL (Health, Education, Advocacy, and Law), a community-based program of the MCDD, which is located in downtown Baltimore at Kennedy Krieger’s Broadway Campus.
MCDD ultimately hired Cole Slusher as its first Project SEARCH intern. Cole has a rare genetic mutation that caused him to experience significant developmental delays as an infant and young child. He attended the Kennedy Krieger School: Fairmount Campus and completed his education at Kennedy Krieger High School. After that, he signed up for workforce training through Project SEARCH at Kennedy Krieger Institute.
As an MCDD intern, Cole has been responsible for a variety of tasks. He has assisted with data entry in the MCDD’s online database system, filing, copying and putting together informational folders and mailings, among other things. “I learned from MCDD staff how to use [the data system] and how to enter data,” Cole says. “I really enjoy working at the MCDD, and I like the staff at the MCDD.” Staff members at the MCDD have been thrilled with Cole's performance.
“Cole has been an integral part of our MCDD team,” says Project HEAL staff attorney Alyssa Thorn, Esq., one of Cole’s supervisors. “He is abundantly positive and takes on any task that is asked of him. His hard work has been a huge help.” After completing one internship rotation with the MCDD through Project SEARCH at Kennedy Krieger Institute, Cole returned to MCDD for another rotation, which ended in March 2020.
The MCDD will interview other Project SEARCH at Kennedy Krieger Institute candidates for the final internship rotation of the calendar year. The MCDD is enthusiastic about this new partnership and plans to stay involved with the program for many years to come. Project SEARCH at Kennedy Krieger Institute is in its second year and is one of 14 Project SEARCH sites across Maryland.
In addition to hosting a Project SEARCH at Kennedy Krieger Institute intern, MCDD staff members assist Project SEARCH at Kennedy Krieger Institute with its online application and with entering data into its online database system. MCDD data coordinator Megan Meck serves on the Project SEARCH at Kennedy Krieger Institute steering committee. The MCDD team looks forward to continuing its partnership with Project SEARCH at Kennedy Krieger Institute.