Uploaded by NIHClinicalCenter on 14.12.2011

(music) I’m Richard Day and I’m a Project SEARCH graduate. Project SEARCH is a 30-week,
unpaid training program to transition young adults with intellectual disabilities from
school to the workplace. When the team first came to me and suggested that we do Project
SEARCH as an initiative, I was really aware that there was a presidential initiative to
look at increase the hiring of people with disabilities into the government. If they
see my smile they would be like, this guy is pretty normal. Ricky’s whole mission
is to make your day. And I always have a happy spirit on the inside and on the outside. When
our patients come here, they have a lot on their minds. Many of them have very heavy
hearts that we need to fill with hope. I’m always around to help people and I don’t
mind talking to them. There were challenges. We hit that right off in terms of peoples,
I would call it, fear. At the beginning, I was worried. Not because of him. Because what
am I going to do? How can I treat him? How can I talk? How can I work around him? But
he teach me. He has a willingness that I have never met before and the patients receive
him very well. I think they overlook his disability. They just look at him for who he is. We’ve
done a good job in this country since the ADA Act in 1990 of overcoming physical barriers
for people with physical disabilities. And now it’s time to look at how to help people
with intellectual disabilities. There are a lot of misconceptions about what people
can contribute when they have a diagnosis like aspergers or autism, and I think Project
SEARCH helps us to have the right infrastructure to break down those barriers. I knew that
we had a great team. Our partners from Ivy Mount and from SEEC are incredible. It helped
me a lot. I have to thank them for experiences. I love experiences. We’ve said that this
is a really important piece of work that you can do and if we can train you to do it well,
then you’re contributing and we’re helping you to become more productive. So it’s really
a win-win program. I am making a difference. Yes. For about the last year I’ve had the
pleasure of being Justin’s supervisor. I’m a speedy worker. The job should kind of never
be task-oriented but instead value-oriented. And one thing Justin’s always eager to understand
is what value does his contribution to a project add to NIH, add to the mission of the department,
and if anything it helps bring me back to who we are as a team and what we hope to achieve
for NIH and for all of our medical students and trainees here. Looking at placement overall
, I think, was very important for us. We went into this program not wanting our interns
to just be plugged into the stereotypical positions. I just wanted to do something different.
We’ve learned by listening to our Project SEARCH interns what they need to make their
jobs successful and they’ve learned from us what we expect from them in order to be
a contributing member of our workforce. I’m saving people’s lives. I’m happy everyday
when I come through the gates, of just being here. Like my first day when I actually came
on board as a government worker I went home and I told so many people. His autism, once
you give him breath, once you give him a little life and he sees it. It’s like the autism
takes a back seat. To this day he has his own apartment. He has his own job. He has
his own bank account. I mean, he is actually feeling like he is actually independently
living. It just feels great to live independent. Not relying on people, you know, to do things
for you. Taking initiative. It’s inspirational for me to see that happen for him because
all he is really asking for is an opportunity. Project SEARCH interns are really no different
than any other employee. Everybody needs to be trained. Everybody needs to feel like they’re
going to succeed. Everybody needs an opportunity to know that they can do their job and do
it well, and make a difference. They bring out, I think, the best in who we are. (music)