Project SEARCH provides employability skills training and workplace internships for individuals with disabilities, particularly youth transitioning from high school to adult life. Project SEARCH originated at Cincinnati Children's and now has program sites throughout the United States and the United Kingdom.
Since 2011, KU and Project SEARCH have partnered to educate people with disabilities through on-the-job training. KU works with Project SEARCH leaders to place eligible participants in internship roles at KU. Placements are selected to align with participants’ strengths, job interests and career aspirations. Participants have the opportunity to rotate through a maximum of three placements throughout the academic year (August-November, December-February, March-May).
In 1995 the American College of Healthcare Executives adopted a policy statement that reads, in part, "...healthcare executives must take the lead in their organizations to increase employment opportunities for qualified persons with disabilities and to advocate on behalf of their employment to other organizations in their communities."
With this statement as a guiding principle, Project SEARCH serves people with disabilities through innovative workforce and career development. Through this process we educate employers about the potential of this underutilized workforce while meeting their human resource needs.
How Does It Work?
- Participants are on campus from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily and work from approximately 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the work site. The first and last hours of the day are for participants to meet with an assigned job coach in order to work on a variety of skills including issues in the workplace, resume writing, skill building, etc.
- Job coaches are employed by the school district and develop curriculum to train the student based on the student’s needs and abilities.
- KU departments and HR provide a suitable work environment, appropriate tasks, and assist in building job skills as participants learn job duties.
- There is no financial obligation on the part of KU departments that host Project SEARCH participants. However, should a good working relationship develop, KU departments may choose to pursue employing an intern after he or she has completed participation in Project SEARCH.
- The ultimate goal is for interns to find gainful full- or part-time employment, either with a department where they interned or elsewhere in the community.
Interested in Becoming a Project SEARCH Internship Site?
Email HRdept@ku.edu and a member of KU's Human Resources team will contact you to begin the process.