Oakland Adult Education
David Hickman is a 24 year old man who has significant talents to offer an employer but, due to his developmental disability, has significant barriers to employment. David applied to the Project Search program (see below) as a way to increase his experience and exposure to the world of work, to get the support he needed to be successful on-the-job and to gain the confidence he needed to secure and maintain employment.
When David first enrolled in the Project Search program, he had very limited work experience. He had been employed for only one day at an ice cream store and had another very part-time job as a home health aide. Neither job offered benefits, significant salary or long-term employment with the possibility of career advancement. David was not benefiting from any support service that could help him find a job because the waiting lists were too long. David was also unsuccessful at being selected for the employment positions he applied for because he wasn't able to compete with the applicant pool that had more experience than he did. He applied to the Project Search program as a way to get the career education and work experience he needed in order to become a more competitive applicant during a difficult economic period.
David was in a leadership role when the Project Search program at Oakland Children's Hospital first began in September of 2008. It was the first Project Search program in Northern California and the only Project Search program to partner with an Adult School in order to offer career training and support. The Children's Hospital Research Institute and the department of Radiology both offered internships to David, allowing him the chance to learn increasingly complex job tasks. David started in his first internship with the tasks of sorting mail, filing alphabetically and numerically, purging files and creating new hire packets. As David demonstrated competence and confidence, the internship sites expanded his job tasks and David was able to to do quality assurance reviews using the hospital software and to scan Xray images into an electronic database.
David was so successful at his internship that his Children's Hospital Department manager offered him a part time (20 hours a week) employment position. This position pays $10/hr to start and full benefits. David feels confident that this beginning job will lead to opportunities for advancement and will be secure in the future since hospital services is an emerging and expanding business industry.
David is very proud of his achievements and has been the spokesperson to employer and parent groups as well as to future applicants with disabilities. He is doing his part to "spread the word" that other people with disabilities can hope for a quality employment opportunity and that other employers can see the value of hiring people with disabilities.