Would you like to learn about a program to help youth with disabilities gain job skills and employment? Project SEARCH is now global, but was started in Cincinnati by Susie Rutkowski from St. Anne’s, West Chester. Project SEARCH’s mission is to prepare young people with significant disabilities for success in integrated, competitive employment.

The program takes place entirely in a business setting and is operated by a local partnership with a school district, a supported employment agency, vocational rehabilitation and the business. The interns learn essential work skills through 3 10-week rotating internships. After the interns complete their internships, the program seeks to place them permanently with local businesses who can utilize these young people in a variety of entry level and/or support jobs. The goal is to break the myths around the jobs that young people with disabilities can perform. They can achieve beyond traditional jobs such as bringing in carts at the grocery store or cleaning tables in a cafeteria. Interns are stocking medical supplies in key nursing and surgical locations in hospitals, entering critical data in banks, pulling and shipping orders in distribution centers and performing basic patient care tasks in retirement centers and much more.

Some eye-popping stats:
·      600 Project SEARCH sites globally
·      47 states and 10 countries
·      70% employment rate of graduates (16 hours a week or more)
·      Project SEARCH is over 20 years old and began at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
·      Many of our sites are still in healthcare but also hospitality, distribution centers, manufacturing, government, universities, etc.

Stop by St. Anne’s (6461 Tylersville Rd.) on Sunday, May 5 at 10 a.m.to learn more!