Vt. internship program helps young people with special needs lan - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. internship program helps young people with special needs land new jobs

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ESSEX, Vt. -

A unique internship program is allowing young people with special needs to boost their job skills.

The Edge runs a group of gyms and preschools in Chittenden County. This year it is teaming up with a national organization called Project SEARCH. The effort aims to provide young people with significant disabilities real-life work experience to help them make a successful transition from school to the working world.

The Edge has 9 interns through the program, some work in the gyms and locker rooms others like Nicholas Parks spends five days a week helping out in one of the company's preschool classrooms.

"My intern is Nicholas, he's been here for 10 weeks, he's really fantastic with the kids. He comes in, he helps us with circle time, art projects, gets involved with anything that we do," said Sara Lafreniere, Edge preschool teacher.

Reporter Keith McGilvery: You are a real hit in the classroom, these kids love you, and what do you love about being here?

Sparks: I actually just love the kids, interacting with them, playing with them, doing special activities.

So far, six of the Edge's nine interns have landed paying jobs for at least 15 hours a week. Panera, Home Depot, and Healthy Living are just a few of their new employers. The Edge is also planning to make a hire.

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