Caleb had aged out of the Dalton Public School System.
Thanks to United Way Community Partner, Cross Plains Community Partner, and their partnership with Dalton Public Schools Caleb was able to reach out and apply to be a part of their Project SEARCH-Shaw Program.
Project SEARCH is a nine-month internship for young adults with disabilities that slowly immerses them into a workplace environment.
Shaw Industries is one of the local businesses that partners with Cross Plains for this program.
The program provides on-the-job and classroom instruction to provide program interns with the job experience, training, and soft skills necessary to succeed in the workforce and gain independence.
Caleb was accepted into the Project SEARCH Program and was soon placed with one of Shaw's Warehouse Logistics Coordinators, Andy.
Andy normally liked to work alone, but he agreed to let Caleb come on board and help him in the warehouse.
Caleb didn't make eye contact or talk to him for the whole first week of his internship. Andy was ready to give up, but by the second-week things started to change.
By the start of the second week, Caleb came in and HE was the one starting the conversation in the morning.
By the third week, Caleb came in and said, “Good morning, Andy, how are you?”
It really took Andy by surprise and he began to develop a friendship with Caleb.
All of a sudden the 10 weeks had flown by! Andy told his supervisor, Melissa, that Caleb couldn’t go anywhere yet.
Caleb ended up staying with Andy for an additional 10 weeks.
Since being a part of the Cross Plains Project SEARCH Program, Andy and Caleb have both changed.
Andy shared that he is more patient and understanding at home with his kids, and a better husband to his wife.
Caleb began to really open up and take great pride in his work. The two have become great friends and learned so much from each other through this experience.
Caleb will graduate Project SEARCH-Shaw at the end of March, and begin the job development phase.
Cross Plains will provide a job coach to assist Caleb in his job search, and he will work to find employment utilizing all of the wonderful transferable skills he learned while being at Shaw!