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Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH is a one-year internship for students with disabilities who have completed their academic career. Interns participate in three internships during each year which teaches transferable and marketable job skills.

The goal for each intern is to gain competitive employment. The program takes place in a business setting outside of the high school world. Interns and mentors are encouraged to practice total immersion in the business setting.

The objective of Project SEARCH is to provide students with disabilities (18-21 year olds) real world experiences in a natural setting to prepare for a smooth transition from high school academics to adult life.  Two programs have been designed to facilitate these students: Project SEARCH and DTEC (Derby Transition Education Center).

Special Services have designed two programs to meet the needs of all our students with disabilities that have completed their core classroom requirement in the traditional school setting, and now need authentic experience in work, recreational, and independent living environments to complete their education.

Project SEARCH serves as an alternative for students who have completed all their academic requirements, but are still developing skills toward career development and independent living. The result of this project will be competent, motivated employees who have better work habits, high attendance, and low job turnover.  This program is a one-year only program which prepares students for the workforce.

Project SEARCH is partnering with McConnell Air Force Base (AFB) to provide employment, support and training for students with disabilities. Project SEARCH student interns are completely immersed into the business work, five days a week, working at various job sites at McConnell AFB, learning employability skills and developing job skills while participating in a variety of training experiences on-site at departments throughout the host business. Each Project SEARCH student intern participates in 3 ten-week training rotations during the academic year, gaining hands-on opportunities that are transferable job skills.

Project SEARCH teaches competitive, marketable and transferable skills. Interns are not doing the work of volunteers, but participating in the internships 20 – 25 hours a week. Additional skills are added as more basic skills are mastered, so that the interns acquire cascading skills.

Project SEARCH Brochure

Workplace Skills Interns Learn:

  • Food preparation
  • Cleaning fitness equipment
  • Basic computer skills
  • Cooking
  • Email, digital communication
  • Equipment repair
  • Stock supplies
  • Janitorial duties
  • Framing/plaques
  • Banquet set up/tear down
  • Housekeeping
  • Fold and sort clothes
  • Working with produce
  • Laundry

Benefits To The Students:

  • Diversity of job placements
  • Learn competitive, transferable and marketable job skills
  • Increase independence, confidence and self-esteem
  • Receive direct support from job coaches while learning job
  • Develop relationship with outside agencies such as Vocational Rehabilitation, SCDDO, and Goodwill


Project Search Logo

Contact Information

If you are interested in applying for the program, hiring a Project SEARCH intern or joining the Project SEARCH Business Advisory Council (BAC), please contact Dr. Dawn Gresham, Director of Special Services, at (316) 554-8004.