Creating a successful transition from school to work for students with disabilities is the objective of Project SEARCH, a collaboration between the EUP Intermediate School District, Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS), and War Memorial Hospital.

Launched in the 2018/19 school year, Project SEARCH is a one-year internship program for students with disabilities, in their last year of high school. It is designed for students whose goal is competitive employment.

The program takes place in a healthcare, government, or business setting where total immersion in the workplace facilitates the teaching and learning process as well as the acquisition of employability and marketable work skills. Students participate in three 10-week stints in different departments to explore a variety of career paths

The students work with a team that includes their family, a special education teacher and Michigan Rehabilitation Services Counselor to create an employment goal and support the student during this important transition from school to work.

In total, 12 different departments are able to accept Project SEARCH interns, including central sterile processing, materials management, food and nutrition services, obstetrics, housekeeping, medical/surgical unit, and rehabilitation. Through a skills assessment and an interview process, departments are chosen based on the likelihood of student success. Some students work in behind-the-scenes jobs, while others work in clinical areas and interact with patients.

Project SEARCH isn’t just a great program for the students. Finding new and diverse individuals to meet labor needs is an asset to the hospital and the community.

It is a win-win partnership for all!

To learn more about Project SEARCH view the latest newsletter here: April 2022 Newsletter

Program Coordinator Kelli Fenlon

at the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District