While Drew VanDee and Trae'shell Bowden have different dreams, their goals are similar.
But because they are young adults living with developmental disabilities, gaining the skills to secure a job is tough.
"It's just as important for a person with disabilities to have a job as it is for you and I to have our jobs," said Rita Richards, a special education teacher for North Kansas City Schools. "A job provides financial security. It provides a purpose and a feeling of productivity in your life."
That's where Project SEARCH, an internship program that helps young adults with disabilities transitions from school to adult life, comes in. Richards is part of the team that brings the students from the district to Truman Medical Centers in downtown Kansas City.
"The students with disabilities are very underemployed," she explained. "It is more than just graduation rates and we put them out the door. We want our students to be successful and contributing members of society beyond the high schools."
Only about 18 percent of Americans with disabilities are employed, but through a partnership between Truman Medical Centers and the North Kansas City School District, 80 percent of all Project SEARCH participants in Kansas City are earning a paycheck.