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Project SEARCH Interns Succeed at Dalton State

Just a few months ago Amie Goolsby wouldn’t have had the confidence to get up in front of a crowd of people and speak.

“I’m proud of myself,” Goolsby said to a crowd gathered to celebrate her and three other young adults’ accomplishments. “I can do more than I thought, and now I’m not as negative as I used to be.” 

Goolsby was an intern at Dalton State through Project SEARCH, a program that helps adults with disabilities learn necessary skills to obtain a permanent place in the workforce. Dalton State partnered with Cross Plains Community Partner to bring the international program to campus.

Goolsby, and her three fellow interns, spent the school year at the College rotating through different departments, such as Student Life and Roberts Library, to gain skills that would later benefit them in the workforce.

Tuesday afternoon, in an intimate ceremony at Trevitt Hall, those interns were praised as they graduated from Project SEARCH. Each spoke about the skills they learned during their time at Dalton State. Other graduates were Janusz Adamczyk, Brandon Keener, and Rosa Ochoa.

For Goolsby, the internship helped her emerge as a confident, positive person who is an engaging public speaker.

“You have grown leaps and bounds,” Elizabeth Hunter, supported employment manager at Cross Plains, said to Goolsby. “I’m really proud.

“I really hope you know how much you accomplished,” she told all the graduates. “And we’re proud of you.”

The graduates listed several skills they had learned at Dalton State – business etiquette, computer skills that included designing posters, data entry, and filing data.

“They learn transferable work skills and social skills,” said Laura Beavers, employment specialist at Cross Plains. “This was our first year at Dalton State, and it was very successful. Janusz has already obtained employment. We’re excited to start our second year as partners with Dalton State in the fall with new interns.”

Adamczyk works at Quinton Memorial Health and Rehabilitation in housekeeping.

“I love it,” he said. “It’s a good experience. I learned communication skills as an intern at Dalton State. I can communicate better with my coworkers and my boss. It feels good to be in the workplace.” 

Faith Miller, director of Human Resources at Dalton State, said it didn’t take her long to realize Dalton State was a perfect partner for Cross Plains for the Project SEARCH program.

“I met with former graduates and I could see the pride they had for what they’d done,” Miller said. “I was convinced then that this was a good fit for the College. I see confident outgoing young people here today. We wish you success in all you do.”