Humanim’s Start on Success program (SOS) was launched in 1997 as a way to provide career exposure and professional development to high school students with disabilities. This award winning approach is made possible through a partnership between Humanim, the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS), local school systems and numerous employer partners (serving as internship hosts). During their senior year, students are paid to complete internships in their field of interest with established employer partners. These partners agree to train and support the student throughout the sixteen-week internship in addition to serving as an industry advisor and providing mentorship. Outside of the internships, SOS students also receive: career assessments; classroom instruction; work-readiness training; assistance with job placement; and job support after graduation.
Employer partners for SOS include hospitals and medical centers like: the University of Maryland Medical Center; the University of Maryland; St. Joseph Medical Center; Johns Hopkins Hospital; Howard County General Hospital; Baltimore Washington Medical Center; MedStar Harbor Hospital; and Upper Chesapeake Medical Center. Partnerships with various staff members in these local hospitals provide opportunities for SOS participants to work among employees that value their work and are eager to pass their knowledge and skills to the city’s emerging workforce. Last year, the SOS team forged a new partnership with the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) to offer a different internship experience for students seeking a career in the creative arts. There, interns have the chance to: learn in a campus environment; network with college students in a diverse and creative space; foster personal and professional creative development. New employment partnerships include the YMCA and CVS Pharmacy.
Since inception, SOS has assisted over 700 young adults throughout Baltimore City, Anne Arundel, Harford, Baltimore, and Howard counties, and Wilmington, DE, in making a successful transition from school to work.