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Fairbanks Project SEARCH Celebrates Dreams Coming True | April 2023

Fairbanks Project SEARCH Celebrates Dreams Coming True

Meet Devin Hughes, a graduate of West Valley High School and successful intern from Fairbanks Project SEARCH Class of 2021. Devin came to Project SEARCH with a very specific goal, but he promised to keep an open mind. He wanted to pursue a career as a barber. During his time with Project SEARCH, Devin learned ways to improve his communication skills, both as the listener and the speaker. “Project SEARCH helped me learn how to work and how to communicate on the job,” says Devin.

Taking all the knowledge he gained from his time in Project SEARCH, Devin submitted an application with Safeway. When the time came for the interview, Devin wowed them with his confidence. He began working part-time in April 2021 and finished his time with Project SEARCH. Since graduation, Devin has continued to work while keeping his dream of becoming a barber in the back of his mind. Recently, he began an apprenticeship with a local stylist at Beyond the Mirror Salon, fulfilling his long-time dream. He is set to complete his training in November.

Devin’s mom shared her thoughts on his experience stating, “Project Search is a wonderful program, it reinforced life skills our family has taught our son, and has given him the opportunity to experience what it would be like to be employed. Within this valuable opportunity, he learned interview skills, was able to experience several different job types and learned what he enjoyed and did not enjoy for work. As we work to prepare our children for life outside their family home, we are grateful for the help of our community and the people who run this program.”

We are so proud of Devin’s perseverance. It has been a long journey to make his dream a reality, and we are glad we could play such a small role in helping him get there. We look forward to watching Devin’s growth in the coming months. 

Project SEARCH is a one-year transition program designed to prepare young people for the world of work. Fairbanks Project SEARCH, in cooperation with Foundation Health Partners and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, provides learning opportunities for young people with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 22. The goal of the program is to find competitive, integrated employment at the end of the internship experience. 

Learn more about Project SEARCH.