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Project SEARCH

Project Search

Project SEARCH is an internationally-recognized skills training program dedicated to helping young adults with disabilities obtain jobs with community businesses. Over nine months, program participants will develop important work skills within a community business. Young adults will learn through classroom instruction, career exploration, and hands-on internships. Project SEARCH supports and prepares these young adults for successful community employment.

What does the program look like?

Each student participates in up to three 10-week job rotations before graduating from the program. Interns will also learn about the workplace culture by touring the facility and meeting with representatives of the company. During the first two months of the program, interns will work with their instructor and Easterseals Midwest employment advisors. Together, this team will support the intern by:

  • Assisting them with creating their career plans and resumes
  • Teaching them workplace and soft skills

Students will need to meet several qualifications in order to participate:

  • Must be 17-21 years old
  • In their last year of high school eligibility
  • Have a desire to work within the community

Project SEARCH is a national program model, based in Cincinnati Ohio at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Community Business Partnerships

Do you represent a company or an organization and are interested in partnering with Easterseals by providing internship opportunities for our program participants? Please visit our Ability Awareness and Inclusion Partnership page for more details. We look forward to hearing from you!

St. Charles County

Project SEARCH serves up to 10 St. Charles County residents concurrently at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital. The local agencies currently committed to this community partnership include:

•    Barnes-Jewish St. Peters
•    St. Charles Developmental Disabilities Resource Board
•    Francis Howell School District
•    Easterseals Midwest
•    Orchard Farm R-5 School District
•    St. Charles R-6 School District
•    Wentzville School District

St. Louis City

Project SEARCH services up to 12 St. Louis City residents concurrently at the VA Health Card System of St. Louis, John Cochran Division. The local agencies currently committed to this community partnership include:

•    St. Louis Office of Developmental Disability Resources
•    Easterseals Midwest
•    St. Louis Public Schools
•    Veterans Administration Health Care System of St. Louis
•    Vocational Rehabilitation

Project SEARCH for Young Adults

Project SEARCH is available for young adults who have graduated from high school. This nine month workforce training program prepares individuals for the transition into integrated, competitive employment.

At the end of the program, participants disabilities are successfully employed in nontraditional, complex, and rewarding jobs.

Through this program, participants experience total immersion within a large organization or business. Each day, participants report to the host business and learn communication and workplace skills while participating in three 10-week individualized internships during the year. This includes classroom instruction with Project SEARCH curriculum. At the end of each day, they have time to reflect, problem solve, plan, and journal about what they learned.

In order to achieve their goals, participants will engage in monthly progress meetings. These meetings will help them to define their goals and plan the necessary steps to reach them.

Project SEARCH does have internship eligibility guidelines:

  • Appropriate social skills
  • Basic communication skills (verbal or supported by technology)
  • Ability to take direction
  • Grooming and hygiene skills
  • Minimum age is 18 years old and a high school graduate
  • Ability to pass a drug screen, background check, and immunizations are current
  • Willingness to independently access transportation options
  • Desire to work
  • Currently enrolled or willing to enroll with the Missouri Department of Mental Health and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitatio

Project SEARCH can bring positive, long-term changes to business cultures, helping companies discover the power of employing a diverse workforce.

Through evidence-based training initiatives, Project SEARCH is helping to meet the growing needs of companies and their surrounding communities. We are providing employers with trained employees from a key, underutilized labor pool. These individuals will make a substantial contribution to the workforce of the Greater St. Louis region.

"When businesses identify the strengths of employees with disabilities,
then put them in jobs that match their skills, those employees turn out to be
faithful, low-turnover, hard-working employees."

Teresa Tanner
Fifth Third Bank, Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resource Officer

What region offers Project SEARCH?

This service is only available in Eastern Missouri. For a full list of our offices, please visit our Locations page.

To learn more about our programs at Easterseals Midwest,
please contact us at 1-800-200-2119 or info@esmw.org.

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