For many, conversation about intellectual disabilities is limited or never happens. But for the estimated 4.6 million Americans living with an intellectual disability, the conversation is far from over.
That’s why Project SEARCH is working to offer these individuals independence through competitive employment.
Project SEARCH first began at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 1996 and has since spread to more than 300 sites across the US and several other countries, including Seton Medical Center Austin (SMCA) in Texas.
“Project SEARCH is the best practice for hiring individuals with intellectual disabilities,” said Geronimo Rodriguez, vice president for advocacy and external affairs at Seton Healthcare Family, in an interview with dailyRx News. “Here at Seton Healthcare Family, we’re the first employer in the state of Texas to implement Project SEARCH; we’re hopefully not the last.”
Project SEARCH works by placing those with intellectual disabilities in internships that may lead to competitive employment. Project SEARCH interns at SMCA are between the ages of 18 and 21 and transitioning out of the school system.
Those interested in the program must go through an application and interview program. If accepted, they’ll begin a nine-month internship consisting of three 10-week rotations.
Successful interns graduate from the program with a professional portfolio and the chance to apply for positions at Project SEARCH or in the community.