I really don’t know how it’s possible, but the weeks keep getting better and better… The first half of my week was devoted to a project that I have been working on here and there throughout my internship called Project SEARCH. This project is where they found 28 individuals with cognitive disabilities roughly ranging in age from 17 to mid 20s and found them internships within the federal government. The three departments that participated in this program were United States Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Labor. These individuals then experienced on-site job training to give them a taste of the real world. I was assisting in the program by helping them plan their graduation party as that the internship was coming to an end. On Monday, we held a party for all the students, their friends and family, and their coaches/teachers that assisted them throughout their time. At this party not only were we celebrating, but we are able to rehearse how graduation would go. On Tuesday, there was more rehearsal, planning, and preparation. Wednesday was the big day. My morning started very early so that I could be there assisting with the planning and preparation. We had our worries, but the graduation went off flawlessly. Secretary Arne Duncan and many others came to speak and congratulate the graduates, which was a testament of just how important this program was to the department. However, the most exciting part of Project SEARCH was just how wonderful each and every one of those young adults are. These individual departments brought them on board in an attempt to change their life, when in reality I believe that the students ended up changing countless lives. It makes me happy to tell you that I know at least four of the individuals are being brought on for a permanent position in varying government jobs.
After Wednesday, my head stop spinning, but my work continued. I went on to participate in numerous meetings and continued reading material for the Equity and Excellence Commission. Friday I was able to meet an individual from the Alternative Dispute Resolution Center within the Department of Education and we had a great conversation concerning what I had received my Masters in and potential opportunities within the Department. I look forward to continued dialogue with these individuals and I’m getting more excited about my potential relocation to the big city!