In 1995 the American College of Healthcare Executives adopted a policy statement that reads, in part, “…healthcare executives must take the lead in their organizations to increase employment opportunities for qualified persons with disabilities and to advocate on behalf of their employment to other organizations in their communities.”
With this statement as a guiding principle, Project SEARCH serves people with disabilities through innovative workforce and career development. Through this process, the program educates employers about the potential of this underutilized workforce while meeting their human resource needs.
Project SEARCH provides employment and education opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities. The program is dedicated to workforce development that benefits the individual, community and workplace.
Building on success in Cincinnati
Project SEARCH began in 1997 in Cincinnati as a collaborative effort between the Division of Disability Services at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Great Oaks Institute of Technology and Career Development and the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission.
Co-founders, Erin Riehle and Susie Rutkowski, created Project SEARCH. There are now more 140 sites in 40 states, Australia and the United Kingdom.
The Project SEARCH programs include an adult employment program, a high school transition program and a vocational/educational clinic.