Ellen’s success after Adult Project SEARCH

Family Perspectives

Our daughter, Ellen, attended Adult Project Search.  Upon graduation she was hired by the Courtyard Marriott: Jeff Shutt and Ashley Fedunyszyn are her managers.  She, the Courtyard team, and her fabulous job coach Shannon have really worked together to make Ellen’s employment successful, for the hotel and for her.

Ellen works hard at Courtyard 2 days a week (6 hour shifts) and typically comes home exhausted.  Recently Ellen came home from work and showed us her employee name pin with the “2 years” and a wonderful card from Jeff congratulating her on her work anniversary.  She is so proud and feels recognized.  It was a huge moment of satisfaction for her, and clearly represented tangible evidence of her own hard work.

We are so impressed by Ashley’s and Jeff’s commitment to offering Ellen a safe and comfortable professional environment in which to learn, grow and contribute, while challenging her constructively to continue to develop her skills and scope.  Jeff, Ashley and the Del Monte group set an awesome example of true community partners invested in the success of the Adult Project Search program.

Shannon’s steady hand in the background helps things run smoothly.  Shannon motivates and coaches Ellen in day-to-day interactions and long term objectives, facilitates communications among Ellen, the Courtyard team and us, and helps Ellen navigate the bumps in the road.  Her support is invaluable and we appreciate her tremendously.

Adult Project Search is a huge part of Ellen’s work success.  When she graduated with her IEP diploma, we felt that she was not sufficiently prepared or mature yet for the Project Search employment context and expectations.  At that time, there was no Adult Project Search, and while we felt we made the right choice (she attended an outstanding 4-year college-based transition program), we hated to miss the unique opportunity that Project Search provides.  When we learned she was later eligible for Adult Project Search, we could not have been happier: at that point she had increased independence experience and skills and was far better prepared take on the challenges of competitive employment.  We were so impressed with the program’s comprehensive approach and strong focus on soft-skills as well as job skills.  The skills Ellen learned during Project Search, and continues to learn at Courtyard, have transferred and helped her be successful at a second job she holds in the community as well.

Thank you for the opportunity to express our appreciation of the people who help Ellen achieve her potential every day.


Written by Sarah Beisheim, Ellen’s mother.


We are currently accepting applications for Adult Project SEARCH. Contact Outreach and Enrollment at 585-672-2222 with any questions.


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