Project Search

Program Model Fidelity

Project SEARCH is an international trademarked and copyrighted program model. To ensure model fidelity and best practices, we require all Project SEARCH program sites to sign a licensing agreement with our national office based at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. The model can accommodate different business sectors and regional variation in agency structure while adhering to these critical core model components:

Project SEARCH Core Model Components

  • The sole definition of a successful outcome is competitive employment in an integrated setting for each Project SEARCH intern.
    • Employment in an integrated setting (that is, working alongside coworkers with and without disabilities).
    • Year-round work (not seasonal employment)
    • 16 hours/week or more
    • Minimum wage or higher
Project SEARCH is a business-led program. This means that students learn relevant, marketable skills while immersed in the business and those businesses are active partners, participating without subsidies.
  • True collaboration among partner agencies is essential. This leads to seamless transition services and sustainability through braided funding streams. True collaboration requires a willingness among partner organizations to share resources and adapt policies and procedures. The following are active partners:
    • Businesses
    • Education / Schools
    • Vocational Rehabilitation
    • Community Rehabilitation Providers
    • Long-term Support Agencies
    • Families
    • Social Security Administration
  • The Program focus is on serving young adults with a variety of developmental disabilities (acquired before age 22 such as intellectual disability, visual impairment, hearing impairment, orthopedic impairment, autism, etc.).
  • Program participants experience total immersion in the workplace. Students are on site at the business each school day for a minimum of six hours for an entire academic year.
  • The partners provide consistent on-site staff including a special education teacher from the school district and job coaches (usually funded by Vocational Rehabilitation and a supported employment agency and/or the school).
  • Data is submitted to a national Project SEARCH database.
  • Program activities are tied to these federal IDEA (2004) Indicators:
    • 1 - Graduation
    • 2 - Dropout Rates
    • 5 - Least Restrictive Environment
    • 8 - Parent Involvement
    • 13 - Compliant (Quality) IEP's and Transition Goals
    • 14 - Post School Outcomes
  • Project SEARCH graduates receive effective follow-along services to retain employment.
  • Each Project SEARCH program site has a licensing agreement signed with Project SEARCH Cincinnati through Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.