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Project SEARCH interns
• Feb 26, 2019

TD Bank's U.S. Demarketing Supervisor Hassan Wilcox felt the typical excitement and nerves when a new intern was about to join his team. After all, it's never certain that it will be the right fit.

In this case, it was also the first time an intern joined his team from the Project SEARCH High School Transition Program, which provides real-life work training for young adults with developmental or intellectual diverse abilities, and it was Hassan's first time serving as a mentor for the program.

"My first thought is that we have a fast-paced process--could they learn it?" Hassan said during a recent Project SEARCH event at TD University. But Hassan's concerns were alleviated that first day when Francis Agnes starting working. Francis filed receipts and updated the Case Management System Database during his stint with the U.S. Demarketing department, which compiles evidence and documentation to ensure compliance with regulatory procedures and requirements.

"Having someone come in with infectious happiness, it was like a breath of fresh air and boosted the morale of our team," Hassan said. "He made contributions right away, and he kept the team on our toes. It was rewarding for him and us as well. "

Project SEARCH Interns Seen as Making Real Contributions

The one-year program in Mount Laurel, NJ provides classroom instruction, career exploration and job skills training during three 10-week internship rotations. The eight interns receive continual feedback and support from managers, co-workers and Project SEARCH staff.

"The interns made a real contribution, and it didn't take a long time for them to become acclimated to our team and the culture," said Lending Team Manager Debra Kelly, who served as a Project SEARCH Department Mentor. "They are very capable. Their passion makes a difference. All it takes is for someone to believe in them."

The interns are immersed in the TD work culture, "they love it here," said Nina Longer, Project SEARCH Program Manager with Camden County Education Services. Currently, TD Bank is the only New Jersey bank to participate in the program. Thirteen TD departments are participating in the 2019 program, which ends in June, ranging from the mailroom to the Small Business Credit Center. .

Project SEARCH Intern Has Special Affinity for Making People Look Good on Camera


Project SEARCH Intern Ben Riddell spent some of his time with CAPA and Marketing, editing video and creating a digital image library. He hopes to use the skills he learned this year – Adobe PhotoShop and other technology – to help him achieve his professional goal of becoming a film editor. As with many in his field, he prefers to be behind the scenes.

"I can make people look good," Ben explained.

Ben worked with the Technical Direction team and took notes for the recap video during the 18th annual TD Bank Wow! Awards in Camden on February 12.

"The cast and crew told me that working with Ben was the highlight of the entire tour," said Lloyd Balman, Head of Marketing for Branded & Live Experiences for TD Bank. "I couldn't agree more."

The Project SEARCH Intern Program grew out of TD's Ready Commitment platform, which seeks to maximize the bank's impact by expanding financial security and building connected communities that enables all people to succeed with confidence in a changing world, according to John Pluhowski, Chief Communications Officer and Advice Council Chair, Individuals with Diverse Abilities.

"It's inspiring to watch our interns thrive in their roles and to take full advantage of the opportunities presented to them. After all, their ask is quite reasonable: to be given equal opportunity to landing the job of their dreams just like everyone else," Pluhowski added.

"If you truly believe in TD culture, these interns embody it," said Xiomara Davis, Team Manager, Phone Channel, who served as a Project SEARCH Department Mentor. "I wish we had gotten involved sooner. I was apprehensive at first, but now I am a total champion."

Want to learn more about Diversity & Inclusion?
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