EOH: Vanderbilt's Project Opportunity Gives Opportunities to Disabled Young Adults - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

EOH: Vanderbilt's Project Opportunity Gives Opportunities to Disabled Young Adults

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(NBC/WRCB) - Rinetta and Carter open are interns at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, a job training program for disabled high school graduates.

"We start them with the simple ones, so we can get a feel for what they are good at and what type of direction they like and what makes them work, and then kind of move them gradually on to more complex rotations," said Sara Ezell, Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.

Specially designed training manuals show each specific step in a job. A job coach shadows them until they become more independent.

"I like to move around and get my legs going," said Rinetta Taylor, program intern.

Recommended by their high school teachers, the interns must show a desire to learn and to work. They are required to learn about the hospital's safety policy.

"We try to make it fun, and we try to present it in a way that they can grasp," said Ezell. "We do scavenger hunts or obstacle courses, those kinds of things, where they can really grab onto the meaning."

Jessica Crowell, 24, works as an environmental tech in holding and recovery.

"I work so hard," said Crowell. "I get paid every Friday. It's real good."

Jimmy Ross, 24, works in the sterile processing department assembling instruments for surgery. He has just learned a new technique barcoding and scanning instruments. He is the only one in his department with that skill.

"It's a big step in responsibility, but I have learned a lot, and I think it has changed me," said Ross.

Program coordinators say Project Opportunity helps Vanderbilt find reliable employees for hard-to-fill positions while providing jobs for disabled young people.

"It's a win win for Jimmy, because it is giving him a job," said Matthew Box, Vanderbilt supervisor. "It's a win-win for us, because it has helped us with this process here."

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