Wed, Nov 1, 2017 at 11:00 AM
Tech nerd? That's a compliment to one Project SEARCH achiever
Zach Chamblee said he sometimes gets called a ‘nerd’ but it doesn’t bother him one bit.
“I kind of take it as a compliment,” said the 19-year-old from Douglas, shown in the photo. “Anything tech I love. Mainly computers. That’s the best ever.”
Zach’s dad, Michael Shamble, gets the thanks for that. He introduced his son to computers when he was 9 or 10 years old. Zach liked to tear apart small electronics like calculators to see what they looked like inside. A few years later, he started to get a grasp on how computers worked.
That paid off during Zach’s first rotation as a Project SEARCH intern at Marshall Medical Centers. An old cash register was donated to the program so the students could learn how to operate it. Only problem: It didn’t work. Zach went to work on it and soon it was spitting out register tape once again.
Project SEARCH is an international program that targets students with intellectual and developmental disabilities with a goal of helping them become employable. This is the third year Marshall Medical Centers has participated in the program.
Students work three 10-week rotations during the school year in the hospitals’ housekeeping departments, cafeteria, day surgery and TherapyPlus gyms. This year, three departments were added for additional rotations. Interns are now able to work in maintenance, as a personal care assistant (PCA) and, to Zach’s delight, information technology (IT).
Zach will start work in the IT department in a couple of weeks.
“We want to provide an opportunity to support Project SEARCH,” said IT Director Kim Bunch. “With the fast-paced environment of IT, I wasn’t sure if having a Project SEARCH intern would be possible. After meeting Zach and having him observe in IT, we quickly determined he would be a good fit.”
Project SEARCH instructor Kira Gilarza said it is very beneficial to the program that interns have as many experiences as possible to help them become employable.
“We’re thrilled,” she said. “We’re so glad the departments are opening new positions for future interns.”