UCP's Employment Program Lands Jobs for Two Interns at Mohegan Sun

Project SEARCH helps young adults with disabilities find competitive employment


UCP’s graduation ceremony
included families and friends of the graduates, the UCP team and members of the Mohegan Tribal Council.


United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Eastern CT held its graduation ceremony recently for their Project SEARCH graduates who had completed internships this year at the Mohegan Sun Casino.
 
The 2021 graduates are DaWayne Allen, Samantha Cournoyer and Christopher Lee Meola. Nationally, statistics report that 75% of graduates are hired, often by the businesses that hosted the Project SEARCH Program, which is a national model. Chris and Sam have already been offered and accepted jobs at Mohegan Sun. Samantha will be working in Environmental Services and Chris was hired by Eurest Food Services. 
 
During a beautiful outdoor graduation ceremony, Project SEARCH graduate Chris Lee Meola, shared words of wisdom for future interns “To do your best work”. Three graduates received diplomas after a year-long successful internship at Mohegan Sun, UCP’s business partner.
 
Jennifer Keatley, Executive Director of UCP of Eastern CT, explained what sets UCP’s employment programs apart, “They are different from traditional transition programs — we are completely focused on outcomes tied to the following goals: to help students transitioning from school to work and young adults gain competitive employment in year-round/non-seasonal jobs with prevailing wages.”
 
This timely program helps fill the gap for the growing problem of worker shortages for CT’s businesses, because these interns are trained and more than ready, willing and able to fill open jobs, expressed warmly by the graduates. Samantha explained “Being employed is very important to me because it’s another step toward independence.” Christopher added, “Working gives me structure and routine and I also gain valuable, professional relationships with colleagues and supervisors.”
 
UCP’s employment programs offer total immersion in the workplace for real-life work experience to help young adults with physical, developmental and intellectual disabilities gain marketable job skills. UCP’s program at the Mohegan Sun serves two populations: High school students who are on an Individual Education Program (IEP) and entering their last year of high school eligibility; and young adults with disabilities who have DDS support who are between the ages of 18 and 35.
 
UCP of Eastern Connecticut serves individuals with all types of disabilities, including Cerebral Palsy (CP). Programs include employment services for young people transitioning from school to work and for adults; residential independent living and in-home supports; community adult day programs; and Assistive Technology for people with disabilities at home, in school and at work. For more information on UCP, visit www.ucpect.org.