Learn more about how Project SEARCH helps students with disabilities find meaningful employment.
No matter where we live, there are adults with disabilities who want to make valuable contributions to their communities.
Project SEARCH is an organization that’s primary objective is securing competitive employment for people with disabilities. Starting at in 1996 at Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital with one nurse and one student with Down syndrome, today, Project SEARCH is located at over 500 sites in nine different countries and continues to grow yearly.
Of those 500 sites, Mercy Health houses the Project Search program in Cincinnati, Springfield, Lima and Lorain. The program offers a one-year, career tech, transition-to-work program.
This program provides training and education leading to community employment for students with developmental disabilities. It also helps further Mercy Health’s mission to help the under-served be will in mind, body and spirit.
How Project SEARCH works
High school seniors defer their diploma to participate in this fifth year high school program with Project SEARCH. Students earn their internship spot following an application, interview, assessment and selection process. Department directors, managers and employees work closely with the on-site coordinator and job coaches to mentor and train the interns.
The interns gain 800-900 hours of experience in three different rotations throughout the hospital in nine months. They serve in a wide array of roles in departments including Same Day Surgery, Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Department, Lab, Dietary, Environmental Services, Linen, Security, Acute Rehab Unit, Supply Chain, Grounds Keeping, Patient Transport, Human Resources, Engineering, Bio-Med, Sterile Processing and Pharmacy.
One student is involved in preparing the medical cart for every baby born at the hospital. Meanwhile, others build and stock important tools such as blood culture and flu kits, deliver meals to patients, keep the acute inpatient rehab unit neat and sparkling and maintain the grounds.
Jeana Baucant, Project SEARCH coordinator at Springfield Regional Medical Center, said that she aims for 100% competitive community employment for the student in the program.
“We have been honored to receive five 100% Employment Awards for placing students in community employment,” she said. “They become very independent, very self-assured and grow great confidence.”