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‘Project SEARCH’ and CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Recognized by National Leaders November 4, 2019

Tyler, Texas – National health care leaders Marcos Pesquera, CHRISTUS Health VP of Community Benefits, Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and CEO Ernie Sadau will present the CHRISTUS Health Diversity and Inclusion Award to CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System Leaders, Tyler ISD Superintendent, Dr. Marty Crawford, and their Project SEARCH community partners.

The CHRISTUS Health Leadership Diversity and Inclusion award recognizes exceptional individuals and teams which demonstrate leadership and commitment to diversity by fostering an inclusive work environment that respects the dignity of all CHRISTUS Health Associates and community.

“This award seeks to recognize and celebrate the unsung heroes that demonstrate diversity and inclusion behaviors that bring to life our mission of extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ,” said Pesquera. “Innovation, working in partnerships, promoting our values and sustainability was the criteria utilized to select the awardees.”

Planned for 3:00 p.m. on November 7, 2019, in the Wisenbaker Conference Center in Tyler this special recognition ceremony will highlight the importance of the program to the many and diverse lives it has touched through the years. Project SEARCH Program Implementation Specialist, Joy Burress will be on hand for the celebration.

Project SEARCH educates and trains Tyler ISD students with disabilities for today’s workforce. Those students act as valuable interns and rotate through three internships throughout the school year, gaining skills for competitive employment opportunities throughout the community.

This program began at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System in 2015 as a collaboration between Tyler ISD, Texas Workforce Solutions, Andrews Center and Winning Edge Employment Services,

“Our Project SEARCH interns are on campus at CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital - Tyler Monday through Friday, working 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every day,” said Tracy Johnston, TISD Special Education Coordinator. “Working together with all members of the team, they come up with career goals that they strive to reach by graduation. The program helps to create a support system to aid in the transition from school to work while increasing independence, confidence and self-esteem.”

Since its inception in 2015

  • 31 interns have completed the program, and nine are currently enrolled.
  • 26 of 31 interns that have completed the program have permanent competitive employment.
  • Multiple interns have received their drivers’ licenses or now utilize public transportation for independence.
  • Two interns have purchased their own vehicles.
  • One intern has moved out and is living independently.
  • One intern has received a CNA license and is currently in school to become an LVN.

“Our involvement with Project SEARCH speaks to our CHRISTUS core values, our commitment to support and encourage an inclusive environment and our work to reduce inequalities in the communities we serve,” explained Ernie Sadau, Chief Executive Officer, CHRISTUS Health. “While we may come from different experiences, we all share the same goal of providing high quality patient care. Project SEARCH has allowed us to encounter young people who despite some disabilities are in fact highly qualified applicants who allow us to continue to live out our mission of extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.”

Project SEARCH first began in 1996 at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and has since grown to a large and continuously expanding network of sites. Tyler Project SEARCH team’s mission is to prepare participants, upon completion of Project SEARCH, for competitive employment in the community of Tyler with an independent and enriched future.

“CHRISTUS Triniy Mother Frances Health System is honored to be a part of this program and assist the young members of our community,” said Jason Proctor, Chief Executive Officer, CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospitals - Tyler, South Tyler and Jacksonville. “The benefit and blessing that the Project SEARCH interns have brought to us has been so successful that we are thrilled to share our story to others in the CHRISTUS family and beyond.”