Inspiring 815: Project Search - – Rockford’s News Leader

Inspiring 815: Project Search


Starting a job once you're out of school can take a while, and be a rigorous process..

So, Project Search is a program in our community aiming to help people with disabilities get their foot in the door, and start their professions. 

These 12 students are part of the Project Search program at Mercy Health in Rockford.

"This is really their last opportunity to get the experience and skills necessary for employment and independent living." said instructor, Nathan Loft.

It's designed for students with disabilities, and gives them school to work transition skills through an internship. An opportunity they wouldn't necessarily have otherwise.

"Definitely a stigma. especially with hiring people with disabilities." said Loft.

And while the end goal is for all 12 students to leave the program with a full time job, being the one to teach these kids is the dream job Nathan Loft always wanted.  

"Working in the school system, I knew this was what would drive change for people with disabilities." said Loft.

The program is only in its first year, but it's something the students involved say is life changing. 

"Be working somewhere with not a lot of help to help me, not a lot of support, probably struggling a little bit." said one intern, Will Close.

"I love project search because it will help you get more experience with the people that you work with." said another intern, Amelia Dahl.

While he teaches and molds them to become full-time working adults in society...

"He inspires me to work harder, improve my job skills and learn new things. " said Close.

"He gets to help us like if we're having a really rough day, or you just need a break you can go up to him and say you're taking a break or something like that." said Dahl.

The students are also teaching him.

"My interns, students really inspire me to be a better human being." said Loft.

Nathan Loft, Inspiring 815.

"People with disabilities, whatever you think, there's different stereotypes but they are just people." said Loft.

One intern, at a time. 

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