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Innovative Solution to Workforce Challenges

Young ARC adult training in a kitchen. (ARC)

A number of challenges are affecting the US job market in 2022. While demand for labor is high, people are quitting jobs in record numbers. Recruiters are having trouble filling positions with qualified applicants. Companies are having to get creative in how they cover shifts and service customers.

ARC (Advocates for the Rights of the Challenged) of Martin and St. Lucie County has started a program it hopes will solve some workforce obstacles in its community. Project SEARCH Adult is a pilot program that educates, trains and hires adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

This is a 9-month internship that provides on-the-job training to individuals older than 22 with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Pirates Cove Resort & Marina, located in Stuart, Florida, has partnered with ARC to host interns and give them the opportunity to train in three departments of their choice including Maintenance, Horticulture, House Keeping, Office Administration, Laundry, Marina, Bait & Tackle, Front of House Restaurant and Kitchen.

Here is what one intern recently wrote about the program. “In my first rotation in housekeeping, I’ve learned to work within a team…as well as independently. I have been learning that a good and professional attitude goes (a) long away. I take pride in looking professional every day. I am excited to work at the bait and tackle, meet my new mentors and doing new tasks. I am also excited to learn how to have good customer service skills.”

ARC of Martin and St. Lucie County is one of four organizations in the entire state recently chosen to participate in Project SEARCH Adult. Currently, there are six interns varying in age from 23-45 and two onsite ARC staff members who work with department mentors to provide modified training to the interns. The end goal is for each intern to use the skills they’ve gained to find competitive employment within Pirates Cove and the surrounding community.

“We are so grateful to companies like Pirates Cove Resort that are working with us to give our interns an opportunity to learn and train in a safe and supportive environment,” said Keith Muniz, President and CEO with the ARC of Martin County and St. Lucie County. “We want to be able to expand this program moving forward, so that these adults can thrive in all aspects of life.”

ARC is looking for more interns and business partners to participate in the program. If interested, please call 772-283-2525 for more information.

The ARC, (Advocates for the Rights of the Challenged) is a 501(c)(3) non-for-profit organization dedicated to empowering children and adults with I/DD through residential, vocational, educational, behavioral, and other healthcare services.  ARC provides support, assistance and training that enhances the abilities for children and adults with disabilities to thrive each day and achieve their fullest potential.

Source: News Release