Project SEARCH is an international program with about 400 sites around the world, and has now begun its second year in Asheville at Mission Hospital. A partnership between Mission Health, The Arc of North Carolina, A-B Tech, NC Vocational Rehabilitation, Vaya Health and the NC Council on Developmental Disabilities, Project SEARCH is a one-year internship program for students with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Its goal is to help the students, who range in age from 18 to 30, achieve their goal of securing meaningful, competitive employment.
To be eligible for Project SEARCH, a candidate must:
· Have a personal goal to find and maintain employment
· Be 18-30 years old
· Not be enrolled in a high school program
· Have a developmental or intellectual disability
· Be a Buncombe County resident
· Be eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services
· Have the ability to be without coach supervision for up to four hours
Participants are selected through a rigorous application process and then begin the program with a three-week “boot camp” at A-B Tech as they complete the onboarding process to work at Mission. This year, several departments throughout Mission Hospital and the Mission Health home office are serving as job sites.
“Some of the roles are more clerical in nature,” said Emily Danciu-Grosso, Project SEARCH instructor. “Others are more focused on interacting with patients and the public.” Throughout the course of the program, which generally follows the A-B Tech school year schedule, the interns will rotate through three different job sites, spending 10-12 weeks in each. “This model is designed to help the interns develop several skills that will help them build their careers,” said Danciu-Grosso, “and by trying different things, they are more able to discover their passion and calling.”
Information sessions for Project Search are November 28, 2017, and January 10, 2018, at 6 p.m., at the 5th floor classrooms at 1 Hospital Drive, near Mission Hospital in Asheville. Application deadline is January 31, 2018, at 5 p.m. To request an application or for more information, contact Emily Danciu-Grosso, Project SEARCH instructor, at (828) 230-4973 or firstname.lastname@example.org.