9 Students Graduate from The National’s SEARCH Internship Program

The National Conference Center celebrated the graduation of nine students from the Project SEARCH class.

Project SEARCH is a nationwide program that provides 10-month, unpaid internships for adults with disabilities, usually at a hospital. This school year, the program partnered with The National Conference Center in Lansdowne, the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, and Loudoun County Public Schools to give young people with disabilities a chance to hone their skills before they enter the workforce.

[See Loudoun Now’s coverage of the program here.]

Three of the nine students who took part in the internship have been offered jobs at the National Conference Center in the front of the house, culinary and events departments.

The National’s Human Resources Manager Helen Kendall described the interns as some of the facility’s most eager employees. “This is a perfect partnership,” she said. “They are emotionally invested and it shows in their demeanor and energy.”

Geoff Lawson, The National’s vice president and general manager, is encouraging other businesses to think about providing internships for special needs adults with the help of the program. He expects The National will host Project SEARCH interns again next year.

“It’s a win-win. We’ve enjoyed having them, and we get a chance to help some young people to have a better life down the road,” he said. “They’re part of the team now.”

Learn more at projectsearch.us.

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