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Fort Bend ISD joins UnitedHealthcare in celebrating 2017 Project SEARCH Graduates (6/6/2017)

FORT BEND ISD (June 6, 2017) – UnitedHealthcare hosted a graduation ceremony recognizing the 2017 Project SEARCH cohorts and marking the successful completion of the students’ 2016-17 internships. Project SEARCH is a one-year, school-to-work internship program that prepares students with disabilities for competitive, integrated employment. The program works in partnership with Fort Bend ISD, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan, Texas Workforce Solutions, Texana and Social Motion Skills to provide student interns with training in social and independent living skills while helping them acquire real-life work experience. Additionally, throughout the internship, the selected students participate in job coaching, career exploration and employment planning to prepare for job placement at the conclusion of their internship.


The 2017-18 Project SEARCH graduates include: Damion August, Alexandra Earl, Danial Farooque, James George, Mauricio Gonzalez, Joshna Joy, Clinton Nwachukwu, Damilola Samuel, Alexis Soliz and Tan Tran.


“This has been a challenge for Alexandra, but she made it,” said Larry Earl, father of graduate, Alexandra Earl. “Project SEARCH is an excellent program that is helping students prepare for employment and independent living, and I’m proud that Alexandra was a part of it. I always knew she could do more than what others thought she was capable of doing.”


Parent Abby Samuel was equally excited for her son, Damilola Samuel. “Damilola has lots of potential, and Project SEARCH helped pull it out of him,” she said. “The sky is the limit to what he can accomplish and we’re looking for more opportunities to help him move forward. With the grace of God, we’ll get there.”


Among the many guests taking part in the graduation ceremony were: State Representative Rick Miller, FBISD Board President Kristin Tassin, Board Member Grayle James, and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Charles Dupre; FBISD Special Education Executive Director Dr. Deena Hill, Director Sheri Maston, Assistant Director Christina Ritter, and Program Managers Tresha Hattar and Darin Quintero; UnitedHealthcare Texas Community and State Chief Operations Officer Jillian Hamblin, Chief Executive Officer Don Langer, and UnitedHealthcare Rehabilitation Employment Manager Alexandra Needler; Texana Center Education and Employment Manager Manuel Lopez, Texas Workforce Solutions Vocational Rehabilitation Services Area Manager Noris Robles, as well as Project SEARCH teachers and supporters.


Representative Miller congratulated the graduates and their families on reaching a milestone in their lives. “This has been a long journey for the graduates, and they now have the skills and ability to go on and do more in life,” said Miller.


“In Fort Bend ISD, we believe that all students can reach their full potential,” said Superintendent Dupre, “and I can’t think of a single thing we’re doing that represents that more than Project SEARCH. I congratulate the moms and dads for their support, all of the program partners for their efforts, and the graduates as they move on to pursue their next opportunity in life.”