Program helps young adults with disabilities find jobs

Program helps young adults with disabilities find jobs (Image 1)

The Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt is continuing to offer a unique program aimed at helping young people with disabilities find jobs.

Project Opportunity is a 10 month job training program for 18 to 22 year old high school graduates with disabilities.

“There's not a lot of programs out there so that once they leave high school they may not know what they want to do,” said program coordinator Sara Ezell.

Nineteen-year old Kurtis Homrich of Brentwood is currently enrolled in the program at Vanderbilt.

He told Nashville's News 2 he spends his days counting pills and filling syringes with cough medicine at the pharmacy located at the hospital.

“At first, it was a little bit hard, but now it's starting to get easier,” he said.

Ezell said Homrich, who is autistic, is a perfect fit for the job.  

“He's extremely smart so he likes things that are right or wrong or you can do a specific number or something very clear cut,” she explained.

Ezell told Nashville's News 2 the idea behind the program is to place young people, such as Homrich, in high turnover positions.

“Where people would get sick of it by their second year, my kids is just getting into the groove of it and they're really enjoying it,” she said.

According to Ezell, the pharmacy has had fewer complaints from nurses since Homrich has been on the job because he counts the pills perfectly each time and can quickly run a tubing machine that sends medicine all over the hospital.

“He did it exactly right every time. He didn't care, he would sit there all day and do it because it was comfortable for him,” said Ezell.

“It can help me practice how to get a job,” Homrich told Nashville's News 2.

Homrich said he hopes that once he completes his 10-month internship he can get a job in the pharmacy.

Since beginning in 2005, Project Opportunity, has helped dozens of young people with disabilities find permanent jobs within the hospital.

The program runs from July to May.

Click here for more information, on Project Opportunity.


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