Skip to main content
2024 Project SEARCH interns celebrated at graduation

2024 Project SEARCH interns celebrated at graduation

By Staff reports on May 30, 2024

Rhen Blackwood thrives with structure, so delivering mail throughout Spartanburg Medical Center was a great fit for one of her Project SEARCH internships.

“She loved the routine of it,” said Rhen’s mother, Chanteau Abblett. “And she’s a people person also, so she was able to get to know the people especially on the mail route and see those faces with everyone smiling and people happy to see her. She really did love that.”

Blackwood was one of seven Project SEARCH interns who were honored through a graduation ceremony May 7 at Spartanburg Medical Center. 

Each graduate was given a certificate and plaque signifying their completion through the program. 

This year’s graduates were: 

  • Rhen Blackwood 
  • Antoine Brown 
  • Arraminta Brown 
  • Marina Carden 
  • Luis Erreguin 
  • Jamar Hayes 
  • Selena Vanadore 

Now in its ninth year at Spartanburg Medical Center, Project SEARCH provides internship opportunities for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to help teach and train them on work ethics and skills.

The program is made possible through a partnership among Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Spartanburg School District 6, S.C. Vocational Rehabilitation Department and Upstate Workforce Board.

“This gives students with disabilities an opportunity to do things that are not available to them in school and helps them get an idea of who they are and what they could become,” said Project SEARCH instructor Hannah Drew. “This was a really good group. Everybody had such a great personality, and it was just a pleasure to work with them this year.”

Drew said five of the seven graduating interns have already found employment post-internship, either within the healthcare system or with an outside employer.

Blackwood, 19, said she now works at Once Upon a Child, a consignment store for children’s clothing in Spartanburg. She said she is grateful for the leaders who gave her a great internship opportunity and challenged her along the way. 

“I liked finding my way around the hospital and going to different departments and seeing all the different people. It was great,” she said. 

To learn more about Project SEARCH, go to