MedWatch Today: Project Search program gives disabled adults opportunity to intern/work at Community

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The mail room inside of Community Regional Medical Center is a crucial department in the hospital. It’s operations are only as good and efficient as the employees within. One new employee in the mail room was hired through the Project Search program. Community Medical Centers partners with Best Buddies to provide internships and job opportunities to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Every day, the mail room inside of Community Regional is busy with letters and packages coming in and going out. Greg Villalobos’ job is to ensure every parcel of mail goes to it’s rightful receiver.

“I always deliver mail every morning when I walk around the hospital, so here’s all the mail of what I’m supposed to send every morning,” said Greg.

Greg started off as an intern in the hospital, through Best Buddies. Community Regional Medical Center partners with the non-profit organization to provide internships to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Materials Manager Mitchel Farmer knew Greg when he was an intern in 2018.

Mitchel said, “During that time, we noticed that Greg did a very good job with remembering different aspects, and we felt that his, his abilities would be best used in the mail room.”

Like any internship, interns can be hired on as full-time employees. A position opened up, and Greg got the job. But this opportunity to work in the mail room is so much more than a job for Greg. He gets to develop one and one relationships, and gain his own independence.

“When I pick up receivings at the dock, I always enter them using the computer,” explained Greg.

Mitchel says having greg on the team is extremely beneficial. Greg has skills many others may not have.

“His memory for different names and different locations, and not only that, but he is very processed oriented where he likes doing things and having a set time and a set schedule for making deliveries and pickups,” stated Mitchel.

According to the Best Buddies website, part of the program is to empower the special abilities of people with disabilities by helping them secure successful jobs, live independently, improve communication skills, and feel valued by society.

“I think that the program is very, very good for all of us… not only do they get to learn from us, but we get to learn from them,” commented Mitchel.

Greg said he looks forward to continued growth in his new job.

“They taught me a lot of new things,” ended Greg.

The Project Search program currently provides internships at Community Regional Medical Center, but they are looking to add internships at other Community facilities in the future.

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