UConn Health program gives people with disabilities opportunities in workforce
Conn. (WFSB) - The national organization on disability reports that in 2022, 21 percent of people with disabilities were employed, but that number is growing.
Project Search at UConn Health is building a workforce that embraces people with disabilities.
Cale Barlow is a member of the Project Search program. Barlow works below the food court for Morrison Healthcare as a full-time employee.
“I’m a dishwasher. I clean pots, pans, trays utensils, I sweep the floors, mop the floors, take the trash and recycle it,” said Barlow.
Barlow is on the autism spectrum, but it doesn’t hinder any of his capabilities to work. In fact, some of his qualities make him an ideal employee.
“He has grown into an amazing young man, full of life and passionate about his job,” said program manager Sandy Finnimore from Project Search.
Barlow was placed in the food court based on the skills his internship gave him. He says it can be challenging to but now he’s got the hang of it.
“I just want to be a team player, I know I don’t have to do everything, but what I can do what I can,” said Barlow.
Once interns graduate, they don’t need to be placed with UConn Health.
Finnemore says 98 percent of interns go through the program and graduate with a full time job in a number of different employment areas.
Since the success of the program, the state funded 14 more project search internship sites.
That means more workers with disabilities will be employed in our state.
Graduation for this year’s project search class will be on May 31.
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