Project SEARCH

    What is Project SEARCH?
    Project SEARCH is a dedicated program focused on providing education and training to young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This is accomplished through an innovative workforce and career development model that benefits the individual, workplace, and community.
    Our primary goal is to prepare each intern for competitive employment upon completion of this year-long skill-building experience.
    Project SEARCH has grown from one original program site at Cincinnati Children's Hospital to over 435 programs across 45 states and 8 countries. 
    How is the program structured?
    Through an internship format, this one-year program follows an academic school year calendar and is geared towards 10-12 selected students who will be entering their last year of a transitional high school program.
    A host business will provide internship opportunities in multiple departments within the business.
    What are the benefits of participating in Project SEARCH?
    Benefits to the students:
    • Acquire competitive, transferable and marketable job skills
    • Gain increased independence, confidence, and self-esteem
    • Obtain work based individualized coaching, instruction and feedback
    • Develop connections to Vocational Rehabilitation and other adult service agencies.
    Benefits to the Business:
    • Access to a new, diverse, talent steam with skills that match labor needs.
    • Gain interns/employees with disabilities who serve as a role model for patients, visitors and staff.
    • Experience increased regional and national recognition through marketing of this unique program.
    • Performance and retention, in some high-turnover, entry-level positions, increases dramatically.
    To further enhance the students total immersion in the workplace, there is an onsite classroom/work space at the host business that will accommodate the selected 10-12 students, a special education teachers (Provided by our educational partners) and job coaches (Provided by our community rehabilitation partner) during the academic school year. Students participate in three, 10-week internships to explore a variety of career paths during this important transition from school to work experince.
    An Example School Day Schedule:
    • 8:30am            Staff Meeting: Employability Skills
    • 9:45am            Worksite Internship 
    • 11:30am          Lunch
    • 12:00pm          Worksite Internship 
    • 2:30pm            Review, Plan, Communication, Depart
    Project SEARCH is driven by a collaboration with the following community partners all centered on providing employment opportunities to students with disabilities:
    • Project SEARCH graduates receive effective follow-along services to gain and retain employment after they complete this last transition year.
    • Our goal is for 100% of our students to achieve employment.
     DHS DRS
    Sedgebrook  Clearbrook
    For more information about Project SEARCH and how to get involved,
    Please contact: Pamela Evans, pevans@sedol.us
    Business Testimonial: "Project SEARCH breaks down stereotypes by increasing the public's expectations about people with significant disabilities. The Project SEARCH program provides young people with significant disabilities the opportunity to contribute to their communities and to society at large by providing the necessary support to work and receive minimum or prevailing wage. We are proud here at DOL to be the first federal agency to embrace this program. This summer, we will hire several Project SEARCH graduates at above minimum wage." Kathleen Martinez, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), Department of Labor, Washington, DC

Application Materials 2021-2022