Project SEARCH is a program for students who have completed all requirements for graduation from high school. It is a transition program for students to go from high school to a competitive job. The program was developed in collaboration with Great Oaks Career Campuses, Xavier University, and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities Agency. These three organizations together focus on education and employment for people with mild disabilities. Within Project SEARCH, students are at internship sites for one school year and work as interns, without pay. These "interns" range from 18 to 21 years old.
Xavier University was the first University to host the Project SEARCH program which started in the fall of 2005. Project SEARCH has now been replicated at 420 sites in 46 states and six countries, including 23 sites in England, 10 in Scotland, two in Canada, and one each in Ireland, Wales, and Holland. The program was modeled after the first Project SEARCH program at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. While at Xavier, the interns rotate through three work site internships which allow them to build technical skills and focus on communication and problem solving. The goal is for the interns to learn these job duties based on their individual abilities so they can become independent in a competitive work environment. Throughout the interns' rotations, they receive on-the-job coaching if necessary, support with accommodations and interaction with various employees and students at Xavier University. It is a win-win situation for everyone. The goal is competitive employment and can occur anytime throughout the school year, either on campus or back in their home community. We are always looking for sites to host a student to help them gain employability skills.
Since 2005, 112 interns have participated in the program at Xavier University. Each May, the interns have a recognition ceremony on campus to celebrate the completion of the program. One intern, Andrew Schuur, completed the program in 2011. At the end of the internship he was offered a full-time paid job in Xavier's Hoff Dining Commons and is still working hard each day preparing a variety of food items. All completers of the program work with their Transition Counselor to find employment in their local neighborhoods. Project SEARCH awarded the Xavier University program an Employment Outcome Award for 80-89% placement for 2015, 100% placement for 2014 and 90-99% placement for 2013.
Link to Project SEARCH International