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What is Project SEARCH?


Project SEARCH is a one-year Transition Program designed for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are either in their last year of high school or are recent graduates. The Project SEARCH program model was developed at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in 1996 and has been duplicated more than 200 times nationwide and in five countries. Through this program, individuals develop the tools necessary for employment,and skills needed for self determination, management and self advocacy.


The cornerstone of Project SEARCH is total workplace immersion in a host business and related agencies. Participants are on site at the business each day for a minimum of six hours. The partners provide consistent on-site staff including a special education teacher and job coaches. Individual job development and placement occurs based on the participant’s experiences, strengths, and skills. Participants are given support with accommodations, adaptations and on-the-job coaching.


The Project SEARCH model involves an extensive period of training and career exploration, innovative adaptations, long-term job coaching, and continuous feedback from teachers, job coaches, and employers. As a result, at the completion of the training program, students with significant intellectual disabilities are employed in nontraditional, complex and rewarding jobs.


Project SEARCH Host Employers & Partners

SEEC is proud to provide employment supports to Project SEARCH interns at the National Institutes of Health, Montgomery County Government, and the Smithsonian Institution.


These replications are made possible through a collaboration among our host business, Ivymount School, and SEEC. Funding partners include the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA), DC Rehabilitative Services Administration, and the Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS).


To date nearly 70 young adults have completed Project SEARCH internships at NIH and Montgomery 

County Government. As a result, over 40 are now paid employees at their host site. All Project SEARCH graduates exit the program with marketable employment skills and robust resumes that lead to paid employment. The first class of Project SEARCH Smithsonian will began in the fall of 2013.


What are the benefits of Project SEARCH?



•    Participate in a variety of internships within the host business
•    Acquire competitive, transferable and marketable job skills  
•    Gain increased independence, confidence, and self esteem
•    Obtain work based individualized coaching, instruction and feedback
•    Develop linkages to Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services and other adult service agencies




•    Access to a new, diverse, talent stream with skills that match labor needs
•    Gain intern/employees with disabilities who serve as a role model for customers
•    Access to a demographic of the economy with intense buying power.
(People with disabilities
     and their families represent one of the fastest growing market segments in the US.)

•    Experience increased regional and national recognition through marketing of this unique program
•    Increased performance and retention in some high-turnover, entry-level positions






Lu Merrick, The Ivymount School


301-469-0223 x137

Steve Blanks, SEEC



Project SEARCH News