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UK HealthCare joins program to help Kentuckians with developmental disabilities get internships, wo

UK HealthCare is the latest hospital to join Project SEARCH, an international program that helps provide internships and workforce training to students with disabilities.

The program originates out of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and is meant to help those with developmental disabilities get entry-level jobs.

At the beginning of this school year, seven Fayette County High School students joined to take part.

Tukea Talbert is UK HealthCare’s chief diversity and health equity officer. She introduced the program Tuesday morning.

“Ideally, here, we want to keep all these beautiful young people that we have in our inaugural program,” Talbert said. “But we are also accepting of the fact that they can be anywhere in the community that best aligns with their ability and their comfort level, because that's what it's about.”

Eric Monday is the university’s co-executive vice president for health affairs. He says it will help the students in the program to reach their full potential.

“Sometimes I think we focus on the new, rather than just taking advantage of what all the skills these interns already have,” Monday said. “They will develop in ways that allow them to serve in critical roles.”

Officials like Monday say there is a 42 percent employment gap in Kentucky between those with disabilities and those without.

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