By the California Department of Rehabilitation
The California Department of Rehabilitation has named Mission Hospital a recipient of its 2009 Employer of the Year award. This prestigious award honors outstanding employers in South Orange and San Diego counties who have demonstrated a commitment to hiring people with special needs.
Mission Hospital's partnership with Capistrano Unified School District (CSUD) for Project SEARCH, a vocational training program for individuals with special needs, led to its recognition as one of six exemplary employers in the region. Through a two-semester internship period, students learn skills for employment by working at various jobs within the hospital, from clerical tasks to nutrition services. Along the way, they attain marketable skills for any industry through problem solving and communication. Staff members at the hospital volunteer to support and assist the students as they learn to transition from school to the workplace.
Now in its second year, Project SEARCH currently has five students completing internships at Mission Hospital. Inspiring this year's class are two 2008 program graduates who now work at the hospital.
"Though we are deeply honored by the Employer of the Year Award, the students enrolled in Project SEARCH are really the ones who should be celebrated," said Peter F. Bastone, Mission Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer. "Their unwavering work ethic and positive spirits are an inspiration to the entire hospital, and we have no doubt that they will continue to prosper and flourish in our community for years to come."