Learning job skills and enhancing communication skills
Matt Elliott, who is currently serving an internship at Mayo Clinic-Arizona.
On April 28, Paradise Valley Schools (PV Schools) notified Matthew Elliot that he was accepted into the inaugural Mayo Clinic-Arizona job-skills internship program. Matt, a member of the DES Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), was recognized for his “exceptional achievements and hard work during [the] interview process [and was] selected from a very competitive group of candidates to participate in the Project SEARCH program at Mayo Clinic… for the 2020 to 2021 school year.”
Recommended to Matt by a now retired PV Schools teacher, Project SEARCH is a one-year program where high schoolers with developmental disabilities apply to obtain on-the-job work experience. The internship also provides soft skills training, including communications. Each intern experiences different work tasks on a rotating basis.
Two of Matt’s most recent drawings. A pet lover, Matt is interested in learning about and caring for wild animals.
Matt began his internship by working in the laundry department. Now on his second rotation in the Supply Chain department, he scans boxes and helps unload trucks.
According to Robin Brooks, Matt’s DDD Support Coordinator, not only is he enjoying the experience, Matt has also improved his communication skills! “Whenever I met with him and his family, he was shy and would not talk very much. He was excited about this [program] and after a few months, I called to see how things were going. He got on the phone and just started talking to me without any prompting. He told me about what he had been doing and how he is spending his free time. I had never had a conversation with him [before] without pulling teeth.”
An animal lover, Matt has two cats, Tripper and Saysha, and one dog, named Gala. Matt’s other favorite free-time activity is drawing. A talented artist, he first draws with a pencil, then colors the piece with markers.
When he graduates in May 2021, Matt plans to find competitive employment in a healthcare-related field. His ultimate job goal is taking care of wild animals.
“I think that this program challenged [Matt] and he met that challenge,” said Robin. “I am so proud of Matt,” as are all of us at DDD!
Great job, Matt!