The Project SEARCH Autism Enhancement (PSAE) Class of 2019 celebrated with family and friends at their graduation ceremony on June 18. PSAE is a one-year internship program for young adults who have graduated from high school with Autism Spectrum Disorder. It was created by NEXT for AUTISM, in partnership with NY-Presbyterian Hospital (NYPH), The Arc Westchester, Adult Career and Continuing Education Services (ACCESS-VR) and The Center for Autism and the Developing Brain (CADB).
Eight enthusiastic students spent the year on the campus of NY-Presbyterian Hospital participating in an employment training program that will assist them in obtaining meaningful job placement. At the graduation ceremony, each student shared his or her individual stories and thanked everyone who made this journey possible.
Guest speakers included Ilene Lainer, President, NEXT for AUTISM; Dr. Philip Wilner, Senior Vice President and COO, NY-Presbyterian, Westchester Division; Tibi Guzmán, Executive Director/CEO, The Arc Westchester and Jennifer Papas, Chief Administrator Officer, Mavis Tire Supply. Jennifer reminded the students that as they enter the workforce, PSAE also stands for Possibilities, Success, Accountability and Unity.
Tibi Guzmán addressed the graduates and told their families, “I want to assure you that while change can be daunting in life, please know this next step your child is taking is a change he or she is well prepared to embrace.” She thanked all those who made the day possible, especially the support of Ilene Lainer, President of NEXT for AUTISM, and The Arc Westchester staff. Her final words to the class of 2019 were, “Take the time to enjoy your job. The reward is not just the paycheck, it’s the confidence you gain when your talent is appreciated and the satisfaction you feel in being part of a business that believes in you.”
A reception followed the graduation ceremony at the NY-Presbyterian Hospital campus in White Plains. Check out some photos from the event below!