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VARC Awarded Project SEARCH Program in Sauk County

Sauk County high school students can look forward to a new job shadowing opportunity at Sauk Prairie Health Center as a part of the Project SEARCH Program facilitated by VARC.

REEDSBURG, WI.—A new collaborative work opportunity is coming to Sauk County during the fall semester of 2024. The Sauk Prairie Health Center, Sauk Prairie High School, VARC, Inc., and the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) are joining forces to provide an immersive year-long work experience alternative to high school students with disabilities enrolled in local Sauk County high schools.

The DVR awarded VARC the opportunity to facilitate this shadowing program based on a proposal submitted in 2023, outlining a collaborative skill-building program to take place at the Sauk Prairie Health Center. VARC’s Sauk Division will provide the job coaches and operational support necessary to assist these students in securing successful job placements after they have completed the nine-month program.

Students and their teams will meet to discuss each participant’s personal career goals and monitor improvement, as reported monthly by supporting teachers, job coaches, and host business managers. “It is such an honor for VARC to participate in this Project Search venture in Sauk Prairie. We have nearly half a century of experience linking local employment opportunities to folks with disabilities, and we can’t wait to start guiding this next group of students towards growth, development, and independence this upcoming fall semester,” says Kelly Dersham, VARC’s Assistant Director of Client Services. “VARC is thrilled to strengthen community ties with this coalition of fine organizations, and to work together to guide and empower Sauk Prairie High School students as they grow into young adulthood.”

About Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH is a business-led collaborative employment program that offers shadowing and employment opportunities to young adults with disabilities. They have been providing onsite training classrooms, business liaisons, and on-the-job rotational internships to young adults with disabilities since 1996. This nine to twelve-month program can be an immersive workplace alternative to traditional classroom learning offered to students during their last year of high school. Eligible candidates for participation in this special prevocational opportunity are determined after an in-depth skills analysis by caseworkers and coaches from each organization. The expressed goal of Project SEARCH is for these participating students to obtain competitive job placements at the host organization upon their completion of the work program.


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