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Secondary Transition Services: Project SEARCH Indiana




Building partnerships and meaningful employment opportunities for Indiana citizens with disabilities


More businesses around the country are using a variety of approaches to successfully recruit, hire, retain and include people with disabilities. One of those approaches is Project SEARCH, a transition employment model developed at Cincinnati Children's Hospital in 1996. Project SEARCH Indiana provides transition-age youth and young adults with quality internship experiences in preparation for competitive employment—jobs in the “real world.” The Center on Community Living and Careers partners with Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services (in relationship with Project SEARCH national) to establish collaborative teams of adult employment providers, school systems, and local businesses in the development of Project SEARCH sites throughout Indiana.

Through careful selection, training, and mentoring of partners, there are now 10 Project SEARCH Indiana high school transition sites training student interns, who work in clerical, materials management, customer service, health care services, data entry, and other areas. An 11th site is providing similar academic and internship experiences to young adults under the age of 24, who are no longer affiliated with a school system.

Thanks to its collaborative approach and a determined focus on full immersion in the workplace, Project SEARCH is working. Students in transition—those with disabilities who are in their last year of high school—are finding employment as a direct result of their Project SEARCH Indiana experiences. During the course of the internship year, students develop extensive resume portfolios and are sometimes employed by the host business or a related business when the internship ends. If an intern has not obtained a position by the end of the internship experience, he or she receives (without delay) job placement services from the Project SEARCH Indiana adult provider partner.

Note: CCLC serves as the Project SEARCH Indiana statewide coordinator through funding with Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS). Indiana VRS is very committed to Project SEARCH, however, due to funding constraints, VRS has had to delay any expansion of the program.

We are hopeful that there will be a time in the near future when we can add new Project SEARCH sites throughout Indiana. Until that time, if you have questions or need more information about Project SEARCH Indiana, contact Jackie Tijerina at the Center on Community Living and Careers, (812) 855-6508 or jtijerin@indiana.edu.