Project SEARCH Graduates!

Posted: Jun 24, 2024
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First Interns Graduate from Project SEARCH Algoma's Transition-to-Work Program and they all have Jobs!

Photo: CLA is proud of these graduates:  Seth, Domenic and Ally. Not shown, Ethan.

It was in a packed room of ardent supporters, at SAH, where the first four interns with Project SEARCH graduated from their year-long program. During the graduation ceremony, the achievements of Domenic, Ethan, Ally and Seth were highlighted and celebrated.

The event coincided with ‘signing day’ for the four incoming Project SEARCH Interns for 2024-2025: Alex, Colin, Jason, Autumn and Jacob.  

With Paula Mason (ADSB Instructor) serving as Master of Ceremonies, other podium guests included John Policicchio (Executive Director, CLA), Shauna Hynna (Vice President, People, Planning & Partnershps, SAH) and Brent Vallee (ADSB Superintendent of Education). Brock Dewar (Employment Advisor and Skills Trainer, CLA) presented the certificates to the graduates.

It was the inaugural graduation for Project SEARCH Algoma which provides employment training and experience to students through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on career training. It is a transition-to-work program for young people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Students worked in four different departments on a 10-week, three-rotation cycle in Laundry and Linens, Medical Devices Reprocessing, The iCcare Store, Environmental Services and Food Services. Skill training included time management, organizational skills, inventory, socialization, how to prioritize and teamwork. As part of their health and safety training, they also learned about disinfecting and sanitation. During the ceremony, the graduates also acknowledged, via the presentation, support they had received from various SAH departments.

The goal of Project SEARCH Algoma is for student interns to acquire transferable skills that they can use towards securing employment in the community, upon completion of the program. The room was full of applause when it was announced that each of the four interns had already secured employment in the community. The incoming group of interns - Alex, Colin, Jason, Autumn and Jacob - were warmly welcomed to the program.

Sault Area Hospital was the host site that generously provided space, time and resources including an on-site training room. Staff includes Algoma District School Board teacher Paula Mason and Brock Dewar, an Employment Advisor and Skills Trainer from Community Living Algoma. Other members included Sergio Iacoe (Manager of Inclusion, Employment and Education, CLA), Dave Mornix and Rocco Martone (Employment Advisors from the EMPLOYMENT Network.) 


“Both an honour and privilege…”

“It was both an honour and privilege to attend the graduation ceremony at Sault Area Hospital for the first four interns who completed their education and workplace experience through Project SEARCH Algoma.

Congratulations to Allyson, Domenic, Ethan and Seth. All four interns have accepted employment opportunities throughout the community. It was truly remarkable to witness the growth, confidence and maturity of all four interns. They developed many co-worker relationships throughout a variety of departments at SAH, and many attended to extend well wishes to all the graduates.

Congratulations to CLA’s Employment Network team for supporting such a wonderful project and working diligently and professionally with our partners from the Algoma District School Board and Sault Area Hospital. Paula and Brock, you should be very proud of how much success was accomplished in this first year.

We look forward to the success of the next five interns commencing their journey with Project SEARCH Algoma 2024!”

John Policicchio, Executive Director, CLA


“Applaud the efforts…”

“We are extremely proud of Ally, Domenic, Ethan and Seth for committing to and achieving the goals of the Project SEARCH initiative. Each of them has exhibited growth and developed their acquired skills to apply in the employment world for years to come.

We applaud the efforts and are grateful for the dedication and hard work of our partners, namely Algoma District School Board and Sault Area Hospital staff members, who on a daily basis, supported and created a positive environment for our four interns to succeed.

Community Living Algoma is looking forward to continued work with both our graduating and new interns, and partners, during the 2024-2025 school year and beyond.”


Sergio Iacoe, Manager of Inclusion, Employment and Education, CLA

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