Internship program designed to help young adults with learning disabilities

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss's Institute for Disability Studies is making a difference in the surrounding communities and this time, they are helping out high school students and young adults.

Community education director, Dr. Jerry Alliston said, "It is a work-training program with intellectual disabilities or any other learning disabilities who usually receive a certificate of completion from high school. It's getting them prepared for a job in the community."

This year, there are 11 interns and each will do three internships at USM.

"The way it works is they come in the morning, an hour of training. And then they go to work from 10-2 p.m. And we get them to the point where they can walk independently across campus by themselves," said Alliston.

Alliston said the job coaches check on the interns daily and once they learn a skill, then a new skill is given.

"We're constantly pushing them. It's not about finding a job per say at that time. It's about learning skills. So when you get out of this program, you have options for jobs, but hopefully a career as well,” said Alliston.

Alliston also said he is hoping that all 11 interns will receive jobs by the end of their internship.

The interns are mix of students from Hattiesburg High and people throughout the surrounding Pine Belt area.

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