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Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH is a one-year employment preparation program that takes place entirely at Overlook Medical Center in Summit, NJ. The hallmarks of Project SEARCH are total workplace immersion and a singular goal of competitive employment within the community for every program graduate upon completion of the skills-building experience. We strive to achieve that goal by creating an atmosphere of high expectations.

The Project SEARCH model involves an extensive period of skills training and career exploration, innovative adaptations, long-term job coaching, and continuous feedback from instructors, skills trainers, and business mentors. As a result, Project SEARCH helps young adults with disabilities develop the habits and mindsets needed to make them successful for the duration of their working life. Beyond hard and soft skills acquisition, Interns learn the expectations of employers in both the recruitment process and in the workplace. Once Interns complete the program, they receive effective follow-along services to enter and advance in the workforce.

Students who have completed all of their high school graduation requirements and are entering their last year of high school/entitlement services. Students and families must agree to plan to accept a high school diploma at the completion of the program. Applicants are typically 20 years old. In some cases, ages 18-19.

Students applying to Project SEARCH have a variety of disabilities that may include, but are not limited to, autism spectrum disorders, communication impairments, cognitive impairments, and physical or medical impairments. Students sometimes have multiple disabilities. Most students have been deemed eligible to receive services through the Division of Developmental Disabilities. All students are motivated to develop critical skills for future employment. Students are not interested in pursuing post-secondary education at this time. Students must have basic communication skills and be able to follow basic directions. Students who require a one-to-one classroom aide are not appropriate for this program.    

Students are responsible for traveling to and from the program using public transportation or with a family member. They cannot take district provided transportation. Intensive travel training during the summer before the program begins is provided to all accepted participants.

Applying to Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH Program Partners

Project SEARCH Outcomes

Project SEARCH In the News

Project SEARCH Parent Resources