Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH is a unique, business-led, one-year school-to-work transition program that takes place entirely in the workplace. The selected students will work in three internships over the course of the year in combination with classroom instruction, goal setting, career exploration, and hands-on training through worksite rotations. Each student works with a team that includes their family, an instructor, a department mentor, rehabilitation counselor and employment specialists to create their employment goal and to support the student during their transition from school to work.

More About Project SEARCH

  • Be 18-21 years of age
  • Referred by a participating school district
  • Have an IEP (Individualized Education Plan)
  • Ready to graduate upon completion of the Project SEARCH program year
  • Strong desire to achieve a job in the community
  • Family support

Each student participates in three internships supported by an onsite employment specialist and supervised by an on-site manager. A special education teacher oversees the students’ IEPs and provides daily classroom instruction at the beginning and end of each day.

Project SEARCH internships at host sites are unpaid, similar to other internship programs, but are individually created to focus on each student’s interests and work potential. Some worksite rotations may include:

  • Pharmacy
  • Operating Room
  • Central Distribution
  • Housekeeping
  • Human Resources
  • Environmental Services
  • Food Services
  • Front Desk
  • Sterile Processing
  • Pediatrics
  • Mail Room
  • Maintenance
  • Cancer Center
  • Pain Center
  • Physical Therapy
  • OB GYN

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

  • Team Building
  • Workplace Safety
  • Technology
  • Self Advocacy
  • Maintaining Employment
  • Financial Planning
  • Health & Wellness
  • Preparing for Employment

Project SEARCH at Mercyhealth Rockford, IL



Project SEARCH at Embassy Suites Rockford, IL


Project SEARCH Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital DeKalb, IL



Macy Kellenberger
Project SEARCH Coordinator