By Christiane Cordero

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The national non-profit, Project SEARCH, is trying to find employment for students with developmental disabilities through a unique internship program.

The Minnesota Department of Education oversees Project SEARCH’s efforts state-wide, helping connect eight Twin Cities employers to 18- to 21-year-olds who have a very unique set of skills and are in their last year of high school.

“They get an opportunity to have three 10-week rotations in different agencies, in different jobs,” said Project SEARCH business liaison, Cherie Yates, who also works for Gov. Mark Dayton’s office. “So they could be doing clerical work in one of the rotations, and they could be doing grounds work or working in a kitchen.”

Tanner Spratt sorts medical supplies at Medtronic, a job that requires a heightened attention to detail. When asked about how he likes his job, he says he fits right in.

“Running around all day and getting good exercise. The people are fun to be with and good quality actually,” said Spratt. “Some days it can be pretty long but it’s okay.”

To qualify, students must be between 18 and 21 years old with developmental disabilities, in their last year of high school eligibility and have a good attendance record.

The next class’s applications will be open in spring 2019.

Christiane Cordero