Project SEARCH Model Continues to Provide Opportunities

The Project SEARCH model, originally launched in Ohio, continues to grow and provide high school to employment opportunities for students with disabilities.

Jesse Potter worked diligently on a recent morning to disinfect and clean a baby bed inside the University of New Mexico Hospital’s newborn intensive care unit.

Potter, 20, who has Down syndrome, is an intern at the hospital under a new program called Project Search.

Through the job training program – a first-year collaboration between the school district, UNMH and several other partners – students with developmental disabilities work as unpaid interns at the hospital and, if they successfully complete their training, the hospital hires them as full-time employees.

“You can see the pride” in Jesse, said his mother, Julie Potter.

The internship gives her son a sense of purpose and he thinks of it as his college experience, she said.

When Jesse graduated high school in 2013, he joined APS’s transition services, a program that helps students with disabilities transition to life after high school.

It was a scary time, not unlike when Julie Potter first learned Jesse had Down syndrome, she said. She questioned whether Jesse would be able to find a job, much less one that he liked and that filled him with a sense of accomplishment. After learning about Project Search, she rushed to sign up her son.

Read the article here.

More information on Project SEARCH

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