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Tony Evers, Governor
Amy Pechacek, Secretary

Department of Workforce Development
Secretary's Office

201 E. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 7946
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Telephone: (608) 266-3131
Fax: (608) 266-1784

Aug. 21, 2023
CONTACT: DWD Communications

DWD, UW Hospital, William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital Celebrate Graduation of 11 Local Project SEARCH Interns

Project SEARCH Prepares Young Adults with Disabilities for Rewarding Careers

Eleven interns participating in Project SEARCH at UW Health and William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison graduated from the program on Friday, August 11, 2023.
Eleven interns participating in Project SEARCH at UW Health and William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison graduated from the program on Friday, August 11, 2023.

MADISON – Damarion Robinson had some advice for fellow Project SEARCH interns who joined him at a recent ceremony to receive their graduation diplomas: "Take the chance to explore and find your dreams; it will take hard work, but you will have people who support you as you learn and grow."

Robinson's closing remarks rounded out the 2022-23 program year for the Project SEARCH program at UW Health and William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison.

Thanks to the experiences and training they received through the program, nine of the site's 11 graduates had secured employment by graduation day. Robinson will stay at UW Health as a Nurse Care Partner. In this role, he will disinfect computers and desks, stock personal protective equipment, and help nursing assistants around the hospital.

"The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development this year is excited to celebrate Wisconsin's nearly 200 Project SEARCH graduates, who pushed themselves to explore new opportunities, develop additional life skills, and take pride in the work they have done over the past nine months," said DWD Secretary Amy Pechacek. "In Wisconsin, more employers than ever are committing to hiring from the state's diverse pool of talented workers. Successful programs like Project SEARCH reaffirm that individuals with disabilities can bring tremendous skills and abilities to any employer's workforce."

The graduation ceremony held at William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital marked the completion of a nine- to 12-month immersive work experience. The interns recounted their hands-on experiences and talked about their future career opportunities.

In addition to the host site, the local internship experience was made possible by partners including DWD's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), and Madison Area Rehabilitation Center (MARC). Statewide, 28 premier employers are participating in Project SEARCH this year.

Project SEARCH is a collaborative effort among state vocational rehabilitation agencies, area schools, local employers, and long-term care organizations to help interns acquire marketable, competitive, and transferable skills that lead to employment. The interns complete multiple 10-week rotations to maximize exposure to different career paths and learn employability skills in a classroom and hands-on job skills within the business environment.

Started at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in 1996, Project SEARCH has provided workforce training to over 1,500 Wisconsin residents since its statewide launch in 2008. For more, visit Project SEARCH Wisconsin.


Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development efficiently delivers effective and inclusive services to meet Wisconsin's diverse workforce needs now and for the future. The department advocates for and invests in the protection and economic advancement of all Wisconsin workers, employers and job seekers through six divisions – Employment and Training, Vocational Rehabilitation, Unemployment Insurance, Equal Rights, Worker's Compensation and Administrative Services. To keep up with DWD announcements and information, sign up for news releases and follow us on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.