By: Max Bruns ~Staff Writer~
Project SEARCH celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Xavier Chapter on April 14 in the Conaton Board Room.
Xavier University was the first university worldwide with a Project SEARCH program, which places 18-to-22 year old students with mild disabilities into internships.
Kevin Huss is an instructor and coordinator for Project SEARCH.
The goal is to help students who have gained a high school diploma transition into the workplace.
The program initially started at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 1996. Xavier took it up in 2004 in collaboration with Great Oaks Institute of Technology and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities.
This 10th anniversary saw the program maintaining its strength and endurance, with applicants continuing to utilize Project SEARCH.
In order to apply for the program, students must have graduated high school.
If selected, the students can receive up to three credit hours of electives toward their schooling.
Each year, the program selects roughly 10 applicants from a pool of about 20 or 30 people.
Over the course of one school year, students rotate around three worksites to focus on education and employment.
Specifically, they build technical skills and learn how to better communicate and problem solve through the program.
Throughout their rotations, on-the-job coaching is available so their adjustment periods are made easier.
The program seeks to open doors to competitive employment for the interns. This can occur at any point throughout the school year.
The program constantly seeks worksites to host its interns so this goal can be reached even faster.
Xavier was the first university to take on Project SEARCH, and since then almost 200 sites nationally have replicated Xavier’s initiative, as well as some sites in Great Britain and Canada.
As the program continues to grow, more students with mild disabilities are given the opportunity for individual career development and growth of job skills.
For more information about Project SEARCH, visit the website at http://www.projectsearch.us.