Three students were honored Thursday night for graduating from Project SEARCH, a program that provides workplace and life skills training for special needs students.

All three students – Austin Donahue, Nathanial Geer and Aaron Welch – have been hired as a result of their success in the program. Donahue works part-time as a dishwasher at Great Western Dining on the State Fair Community College; Geer landed a temporary position as a custodian at Sacred Heart Schools; and Welch works fulltime at Heritage Fabrication as an assembler.

The program, a joint venture including Sedalia School District 200, SFCC, Center for Human Services and Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation, gives students with disabilities workplace experience through internships both on the SFCC campus and off-campus with community partners. Teacher Ryan Oelrichs said the students combined to work more than 2,300 hours over the past year.

“Each of you has shown great dedication to your jobs, and I am extremely proud of what you have been able to accomplish,” Oelrichs said, noting that the class is the first to finish with all students securing paying jobs.

In comments about his Project SEARCH experience, Geer said: “The program has gotten me ready for a job by practice interviews and job searching on the Internet. … We have talked about planning for employment, workplace rules and dress codes. … They train you to have good experiences and skills.”

(Courtesy of Sedalia School District)