Project SEARCH



A 10-month school-to-work transition program for students with disabilities housed entirely at Mercyhealth Hospital – Rockton Avenue. Total workplace immersion facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, on-the-job training and job placement support. The goal for each student is competitive employment in their home community, transferring the skills and workplace practices they have acquired and demonstrated at Project SEARCH. The mission of the Mercyhealth Project Search program is to provide students with disabilities a workforce immersion experience that will equip them with transferable skills so they can become competitively employed.

                                                     What is Project SEARCH?

Project SEARCH is a one-yearintern-application-button internship program for students with disabilities in their last year of high school. It is targeted for students whose goal is competitive employment in the community. The program is headquartered at Mercyhealth Hospital – Rockton Avenue.

Students participate in up to three internships to explore a variety of career paths. Each student works with a team that includes his or her family, a teacher, employment specialists, and a rehabilitation counselor to create an employment goal and to support the student during the transition from school to work.

Classroom Curriculum

Throughout the school year, students participate in a functional academic curriculum that stresses employability and independent living skills. Major classroom focus areas include:

  • Working responsibly
  • Communicating effectively
  • Solving problems and developing critical thinking skills
  • Planning and managing a career
  • Applying technology
  • Developing self-advocacy skills

Worksite Rotations

Each student participates in three worksite rotations, supported by an onsite job coach and supervised by Mercyhealth managers. A special education teacher, also housed on site at Mercyhealth, oversees the students programs and provides daily classroom instruction at the beginning of the day and the end of the day.

Project SEARCH positions at Mercyhealth are unpaid internships, similar to other internship programs that exist in many hospitals, but individually created to capitalize on each student’s individual interests and vocational potential.

Possible work experiences:

  • Clerical support
  • Filingphotos-ps
  • Phone skills
  • Computer skills
  • Scanning/imaging
  • Data entry
  • Mail room work and delivery
  • Receptionist
  • Duplicating
  • Janitorial skills
  • Equipment repair
  • Sterilization

Eligibility Criteria

Students who:

  • Desire to work competitively in the community.
  • Be 18-21 years of age.
  • Have completed 4 years of high school.
  • Have access to independent transportation (public access travel training provided).
  • Be able to communicate effectively or learn (verbal or with technological assistance).
  • Maintain appropriate behavior and social skills in the workplace.
  • Maintain personal hygiene and grooming skills.
  • Desire to work in a healthcare setting.