•  Project SEARCH

    Project SEARCH is a school to work transition program that provides employment and educational opportunities to individuals with cognitive and physical disabilities.  The Project SEARCH model focuses on providing opportunities for individuals with disabilities to gain marketable and transferable skills.


    About Project SEARCH

    Project SEARCH is a one-year, school transition program that provides training and education that leads to employment for individuals with disabilities.   Because the outcome is employment, Project SEARCH will be the student’s last year of public school.

    The cornerstone of Project SEARCH is total immersion in a large business.  Five days a week, students report to the host business using either a public or private transportation system.  The students learn independent living and employability skills in the classroom and develop work skills while working in 3 different rotations in the hospital. 

    A certified special education teacher and job coaches work with the students and the hospital’s staff.  The teacher and job coaches make sure the students are being productive workers in the hospital’s departments.

    The ultimate goal upon program completion is for the students to utilize their internship skills for gainful employment.

    Established in August 2012, Project SEARCH is a collaborative effort of Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, West Bloomfield Schools, Community Mental Health, New Horizons Rehabilitation, Michigan Rehabilitation Services and Oakland Schools. Each of these organizations is an active partner in providing vocational training and employment for people with disabilities.

    Project SEARCH Curriculum

    ·       Team Building

    ·       Getting Around the Work Place

    ·       Workplace Safety

    ·       Technology

    ·       Social/Communication Skills

    ·       Presentation Skills

    ·       Money Management

    ·       Health & Wellness

    ·       Resume Writing

    ·       Job Searching

    ·       Interviewing

    ·       Keeping a Job


    Project SEARCH Entrance Criteria

    • Be at least 18 years of age and have an IEP
    • Agree the 1 year Project SEARCH  program will be the last year of school eligibility
    • Meet eligibility requirements for Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) or Michigan Commission of the Blind (MCB)
    • Meet eligibility requirements for mental health services- Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority (OCCMHA) and its network of service providers as necessary for follow along services (This is preferred, but it is not necessary.)
    • Have independent personal hygiene and grooming skills
    • Have independent daily living skills
    • Maintain appropriate behavior and social skills in the workplace
    • Take directions from supervisors and adjust behavior as necessary
    • Be able to communicate effectively
    • Utilize public transportation when available and participate in mobility training to insure success in using public transportation independently
    • Have previous experience in a work environment such as work based learning through school, volunteerism, or paid work
    • Ability to pass drug screening, felony check, and immunization and health requirements
    • Desire and plan to work competitively in the community once a job is offered or at the conclusion of the Project SEARCH program


    What are the school hours of Project SEARCH?

       8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

    Does Project SEARCH follow a school calendar?

       Project SEARCH follows the West Bloomfield Schools District calendar.

    Does Project SEARCH have Late Start?

       Project SEARCH has Early Release.  Once a month, the students will be dismissed at 1:45 p.m.

    Is it true there are no school buses used to get the students to Project SEARCH?

       School districts will not transport students to Project SEARCH and have signed agreements with Project SEARCH and West    Bloomfield Schools to this effect.

       The summer before the student starts Project SEARCH, he/she can work with Michigan Rehabilitation Services to develop mobility    training.  This can include learning to ride the My Connector, the SMART bus, or a private transportation company.

    What do the students wear?

       Parents are expected to purchase a shirt(s), usually $16-$18 each, at the New Student Orientation in May.  In addition, students are to    wear black pants, shoes, socks and belt.

    How do the students get their lunch?

       Students may bring their lunch or purchase a lunch in the hospital cafeteria.  A refrigerator and microwave are provided.

    Will my student be hired by the hospital?

       The hospital has the option of hiring any one of the interns at any time.  If a student is not hired by the hospital, a job developer will    help the student look for employment in their community.

    What departments in the hospital have taken on a student?

       Greenhouse, Surgery, Clerical, Emergency Department, Kitchen, Transport, Endoscopy, Cafeteria, Environmental Services, Labor &    Delivery, Coffee Shop, Surgical Process, Room Service.   This list can change at any moment!

    What has been your success rate for employment?

       2011-2012- 66% Employment

       2012-2013- 80% Employment

       2013-2014- 75% Employment

    How does my student apply to Project SEARCH?

       You must have a conversation with your district’s Transition Coordinator and/or discuss Project SEARCH as an option at an IEP.     Your district MUST be willing to participate in Project SEARCH as it is a tuition based program. Attend 2 Information Nights, one in    December and the other in January.  At the January meeting, applications will be handed out.  Once applications are turned in, the    students and a parent/guardian will be interviewed at the hospital in February.  A Selection Committee will then meet to review    applications.  Applicants will be notified by email.