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Merritt awarded for services to youth with disabilities
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Carmen Merritt, a vocational rehabilitation counselor with the state Department of Labor, displays her Presidents Award for her work in service and job placement with youth who have intellectual disabilities. - photo by Photo provided

SAVANNAH—Carmen Merritt, of Effingham County, a vocational rehabilitation counselor with the Georgia Department of Labor’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program in Savannah, accepted the President’s Award given recently to Project SEARCH for outstanding service and job placement to young people with intellectual disabilities.

“I am so very proud of Carmen Merritt and the entire Project SEARCH Team for receiving this recognition,” said Yovancha Lewis-Brown, regional director for the VR program in Savannah.  “Celebrating Ability is what GDOL/VR and Project Search are all about, and we take great pride in being a part of that celebration.”

The award was given by the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS).  Project SEARCH is a partnership between the Georgia Department of Labor’s VR program, St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital, Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools, and the Coastal Center for Development Service.

Project SEARCH provides employability skills training and workplace internships for individuals with significant disabilities, particularly youth transitioning from high school to adult life.  This year, 11 students with special needs who are moving from high school into the workforce are interning at St. Joseph’s/Candler in a variety of jobs throughout the hospital.  Over the past three years, Project SEARCH has placed 100 percent of its graduates in jobs.