Stemilt Hosts First Project SEARCH Program in Wenatchee Valley; Maggie Torres and West Mathison Discuss
WENATCHEE, WA - Stemilt continues to look out for its community as it works in tandem with the Eastmont School District’s Project SEARCH transition-to-work program. This program focuses on providing education and training to young adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities in hopes of securing job placement for them.
“Stemilt will be the first company in central Washington and in the tree fruit industry to partner with Project SEARCH,” remarked Maggie Torres, Manager of Learning and Development and Senior Business Partner at Stemilt. “There are 694 Project SEARCH programs that will reach 5,500 students this year. Given its wide reach, Stemilt is humbled to be part of this new business-led, one-year employment preparation program and help prepare these seven new Stemilters for their futures.”
According to a press release, Project SEARCH’s primary objective is to secure competitive employment for people with disabilities. The goals are to provide technical assistance, program evaluation, program development, continuous improvement, and provide real-life work experiences.
“Everyone involved in Project SEARCH is focused on helping these interns gains skills that will lead to a job role next year,” added Torres. “They may find a role at Stemilt that is a great fit, or elsewhere in the community. The power of this program will be in working together and sharing the success with the broader community to ensure that people with disabilities have opportunities for employment beyond their schooling years.”
Beginning September 31 of this year, students will participate in internships in these Stemilt departments: retail/marketing, reception/HR, production, receiving, and research/development. Each student will complete three internships over the school year in three different Stemilt departments.
Stemilt hosted a “signing day” for interns on August 22 at its Wenatchee headquarters. Attendees included Stemilt and Eastmont School District staff, Douglas County Commissioners, Project SEARCH partners, interns, and their families.
“At Stemilt, we exist to cultivate people and delight consumers with excellence,” said President West Mathison in closing remarks at the intern’s signing event. “We grow World Famous Fruit and focus on doing all the little things right to be world famous in all that we do each day. We are excited to welcome you as part of our family, and look forward to a year of great collaboration, growth, learning, and being World Famous.”
Being World Famous is more than just providing delicious fruit—it’s about having heart. And heart Stemilt has in spades!