Project SEARCH is designed for students with significant disabilities to assist them with a plan to transition from school to employment through innovative workforce and career development. It is dedicated to workforce development that can benefit the individual, community, and workplace by offering on-site job skills training and support, career exploration in a variety of entry-level positions, internships, interviewing and assessment practice, and job placement. It is not intended as training for the “easiest” jobs, but complex and systematic jobs matched to student skills and interests.
Project SEARCH is a collaborative partnership between Francis Tuttle Technology Center and other agencies and institutions:
- At the Mercy Project SEARCH site, the partners are Francis Tuttle Technology Center, Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, Dale Rogers Training Center, and the National Center for Disability Education and Training.
- At the INTEGRIS Project SEARCH site, the partners are Francis Tuttle Technology Center, INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center, the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, Dale Rogers Training Center, and the National Center for Disability Education and Training.
How Project SEARCH Works
- Relatively small class size (8-10 students)
- Classroom located at the host hospital
- One school-year immersion in the culture of the host business
- Three, 10-week unpaid internships
- Teacher and job coaches provide on-site training and support
- Career exploration in a variety of entry-level positions
- Participation in “Employability Skills” curriculum
- Practice in interviewing, feedback and assessment with Project SEARCH and host business staff
- Attainment of competitive, marketable and transferable job skills
- Placement in a competitive job to match their skills and interests
- Helps meet human resource needs while educating employers about the potential of this underutilized workforce
- Makes economic sense
- Fulfills a commitment to workforce diversity
- Employees with disabilities serve as role models for patients and families and give them a sense of hope
- Allows for increased public recognition for the host business
- Universal design helps all employees
- Performance and retention in some high-turnover, entry-level positions can increase dramatically