Graduation is a time when friends and family come together to celebrate moving ahead in life.
For Project Search graduates, Wednesday night means becoming a part of the workforce.
"It’s opened so many doors for me," Conor Ebuna said. "I’ve never felt so involved in the community ever."
"It’s the greatest thing ever in my life,” said graduate Ryan Hillis.
The program helps people with special needs with vocational skills and on the job training.
"It’s been very bad numbers for people who have any type of disability, their odds of finding a competitive job have been pretty low,” said Project Search Instructor Coordinator Danny Matthews.
This year's group has eight graduates. Four are already working at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.
"They're very reliable and they want to work and they want to be here so you can count on them,” said UTMC spokesperson Sandy Cunningham.
Wednesday night was also a moment for their proud parents to reflect.
"Enjoy the confidence that Project Search has instilled in Ryan, and given him the opportunity to be productive in his workplace,” Donald Hillis said.
Wednesday marked the end of a nine-month journey, and the beginning of a career.
"I come home every day exhausted, but I feel so rewarded at the same time,” Ebuna said.