The Project SEARCH High School Transition Program is a one-year internship program for students with disabilities in their last year of high school, and DDA and DORS eligible. It is for students whose goal is competitive employment. The program is conducted in a workplace setting, where total immersion facilitates the teaching and learning process as well as the acquisition of employability and marketable work skills. Students participate in three internships to explore a variety of career paths. Students in the program work with a team that includes their family, a special education teacher and The Arc of Howard County to create an employment goal and support the student during this important transition from school to work.
About Project SEARCH
In 1996, Erin Riehle was the Director of the Emergency Department at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and was frustrated with the high turnover rate in entry-level jobs involving restocking supplies. While working to identify a solution to the high turnover rate, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital adopted a major diversity initiative, taking a policy statement from the American College of Healthcare Executives, which reads, “Healthcare organizations must lead their communities in increasing employment opportunities for qualified persons with disabilities and advocate on behalf of their employment to other organizations.” Erin wondered if people with disabilities could fill these entry-level jobs. With an idea in mind, Erin turned to Great Oaks Career Campuses and the Hamilton County Board of Developmental Disability Services and asked if this job service was a possibility. A partnership evolved, and together these organizations filled a handful of jobs in Cincinnati Children’s Emergency Department; later this concept evolved into the comprehensive program model, now called Project SEARCH.
Since its beginnings in Cincinnati nearly twenty years ago, the Project SEARCH program has been launched at more than 514 sites in the US and 60 in other countries.
Project SEARCH Howard County
Project SEARCH Howard County was launched in 2014 and is the ninth site in Maryland. The inaugural class of 12 participants completed the year-long internship on June 9, 2015.
- The Project SEARCH community partners in Howard County include:
- Howard County Government – Host Business
- Howard County Public School System
- The Arc of Howard County
- Howard County Autism Society
- Maryland State Department of Education Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS)