Employment Skills Training / Career Exploration

Project SEARCH and Thrive Academy are two unique programs that VPI offers that are designed to assist individuals in reaching the best possible outcome as they prepare for permanent, community-based employment.  These programs are conducted in conjunction with local businesses and organizations, and the expected outcome for each individual is a community-based job that matches with his or her skills and interests.

Project SEARCH / Hospital Based Internships

“The Project SEARCH High School Transition Program is a unique, business-led, one-year school-to-work program that takes place entirely at the workplace. Total workplace immersion facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and hands-on training through worksite rotations” (projectsearch.us).

Students rotate through eight different internship jobs at the hospital throughout the school year, assisted by VPI Job Coaches as necessary. Along with the internships, they attend classes designed to further enhance the learning experience as it relates to their job assignment and the skills necessary to maximize their performance and learning.  Once students have successfully completed their training program, they work with Valley Packaging Employment Specialists to conduct their job search.

5815_sehlogoValley Packaging initiated this national program in the Appleton area and serves as the Community Rehabilitation Provider and licensee. All internship opportunities take place within St. Elizabeth Hospital.

For more information, visit the Project SEARCH website http://www.projectsearch.us/Home.aspx or contact VPI’s Project SEARCH Coordinator at 920-749-5859 or email rehabinfo@vpind.com

Thrive Career Academy/College Campus Experience

thrive-academy-6446Thrive Career Academy’s purpose is to provide training and education opportunities for a diverse population, which supports individual goals of developing optimal levels of social, vocational, and economic independence in the community.

In collaboration with University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley, VPI facilitates a complete educational program that provides classroom and hands-on employment training in soft skills and workplace professional behaviors, which are then used to transition the students into job placement opportunities. VPI instructors and specialists teach the classes on the UW-Fox Valley campus and provide employment skills training and employment search and placement services in Northern Winnebago, Waupaca, and Outagamie counties.

Classes are provided in eight different units:

  • Self Determination
  • Meeting Employer Expectations
  • Positive Attitude
  • Doing Your Job Well
  • Getting Along With Others
  • Managing Yourself
  • Being a Professional
  • Putting your Career Plan in Action

Since community awareness and self-empowerment come from both classroom and hands-on experience, students reinforce their educational lessons by interacting and learning from employers through various work experience opportunities based upon each student’s skills and interests.

VPI collaborates with many active community partners to facilitate our Project SEARCH and Thrive Career Academy programs for our clients:




For more information, contact VPI’s Thrive Academy Coordinator at 920-749-5859 or email rehabinfo@vpind.com