The Arc of Camden County is proud of our project search interns and this growing program! Our staff is doing an amazing job with assisting our current interns and finding new candidates for next year’s Project Search.
Who Is Project Search?
Project SEARCH’s primary objective is to secure competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities.
Project SEARCH was developed at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, a research environment that fosters visionary thinking and innovation. It began in 1996, when Erin Riehle was Director of Cincinnati Children’s Emergency Department. Erin felt that, because the hospital served individuals with developmental disabilities as patients, it made sense that they should commit to hiring people in this group. She wondered if it would be possible to train people with developmental disabilities to fill some of the high-turnover, entry-level positions in her department. These jobs involved complex and systematic tasks, such as stocking supply cabinets. To learn more about the feasibility of her idea, she turned to Great Oaks Career Campuses and the Hamilton County Board of Developmental Disability Services. Through this outreach, Erin met Susie Rutkowski, then the special education director at Great Oaks. Erin and Susie formed a partnership that was instantaneous, and together they turned the idea of filling a handful of jobs in Cincinnati Children’s Emergency Department into a comprehensive, internationally recognized program model— Project SEARCH.
Project SEARCH has grown from one original program site at Cincinnati Children’s to over 600 programs across 47 states and ten countries. Some of our business partners include: Dow Chemical, The Smithsonian Institute, Henry Ford Hospital, Embassy Suites in many locations, Zoo Miami, Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota State Governments, Drexel University, Joint Base Andrews, National Institutes of Health, to name a few. Project SEARCH is driven by collaboration with many community partners: A host business, an education partner, a supported employment provider, Vocational Rehabilitation and the local Development Disability organization.