Project Search graduates are, Caroline Lennon, front row, left, Brittany Jones, Dauaja Dempsey, Everett Payton, Jr., and Derrick Eury, back row, RCC Vice President Bill Mauney, RCC Disabilities Specialist and keynote speaker Cynthia Quintero, Project Search graduates William McRae, Zachary Jones, and Stephen Campbell, and Project Search Lead Instructor Banessa Williams-McCormick.
Most folks know that students can earn an associate degree at Robeson Community College and transfer to a university as a junior.
Likewise, most folks know that the college trains almost all of the firefighters, law enforcement officers, and emergency services personnel and many of the nurses in the area. Most people know that students can earn a high school diploma or high school equivalency degree at the college.
But too many people don’t realize that the college offers a lot more. Often these other services and offerings are highly specialized and serve a niche in our community that doesn’t directly apply to the general public. Customized industry training is an example. In this program the direct customers of the college, industries, are few, but the impact those industries have on our county affect most of us.
Another often-overlooked program that serves a small population is the Adult Basic Education Transitions program. Those who are familiar with this program often know it by its former name, Compensatory Education. The program serves adult students with developmental disabilities once they have completed their studies in high school. Though this population is small, it is an important segment of society, and serving this population is an important part of the mission of Robeson Community College.
Embedded in the program at Robeson Community College is a partnership with Southeastern Health known as Project Search. Project Search integrates differently-abled students into internships at Southeastern Regional Medical Center.
Recently, eight students completed internships in the partnership and were recognized in a ceremony at the hospital. Stephen Campbell, Dauaja Dempsey, Derrick Eury, Brittany Jones, Zachary Jones, Caroline Lennon, William McRae, and Everett Payton Jr. worked in various departments at the hospital, including Patient Transport, Human Resources, Food Services, and Housekeeping from August of last year until their completion last week.
Program participant Zachary Jones opened the ceremony with an invocation. RCC staff member Erick Mitchell introduced keynote speaker Cynthia Quintero. Quintero, who serves as Disabilities Services specialist for the college, noted that in the past employers were often afraid to work with employees with disabilities. Many thought that people with disabilities were not capable of employment.
“If you give people in general, not only those with disabilities, but people in general, a chance, you might be surprised at what they can do. These students are a success in their community,” Quintero said.
Durham White, representing the hospital, said that sometime between 2020 and 2030 the country is expected to face a labor shortage.
“As a society, we can’t afford to overlook people who are differently-abled,” White said.
Banessa Williams-McCormick, lead instructor for Project Search, said these students were successful in this program because they all have a good attitude and a willingness to work.
Photos of the students and the ceremony can be viewed on the college’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RobesonCommunityCollege.
For more information about Project Search and the Adult Basic Education Transition program at Robeson Community College, contact James Erick Mitchell at 910-272-3608 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.