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Inclusion & Diversity

Project SEARCH

Dedicated to inclusive workforce development.

Workforce Development

ChristianaCare is part of a nationally recognized program dedicated to workforce development focused on individuals with significant barriers to employment. It generates partnerships with businesses that work to benefit the individual, community and the workplace.

Our partners in Project SEARCH are POW&R (Productive Opportunities for Work & Recreation), CIS (Community Integrated Services), Red Clay Consolidated School District and the State of Delaware’s  Department of Education and Department of Labor, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Graduates from the Project SEARCH Class of 2019

Student Intern Application

Thank you for your interest in Project SEARCH! Please find the appropriate application and information below:

What is Project SEARCH?

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.

Several members of the Project SEARCH program pose at a sorting desk

Why It Works

Project SEARCH has over a dozen years of proven success with business partners such as hospitals and banking institutions. Project SEARCH employees contribute more than their assigned job duties; they increase employee morale and help reduce employer turnover rates. Colleagues enjoy working alongside individuals with disabilities because Project SEARCH employees want to learn, work and grow.

The goal has remained the same regardless of the location of the Project SEARCH program: to match qualified employees with open positions in a variety of settings through the provision of such on-the-job support as job coaching, adaptations & accommodations, final task divinations and travel training. The on-site job-retention staff creates a unique support system where people with disabilities can successfully maintain employment and advance in their chosen careers.

  • Collaboration with business, service agencies, and rehabilitation
  • On-site support staff who develop an expertise in the field
  • Provide immediate response and solutions to changes or problems
  • Experts productivity enhancement or accommodation and adaptation
  • Immersion into an organization in non-traditional jobs
  • Business hires individuals who have been pre-screened and are a good match

Praise for Project SEARCH at ChristianaCare

“Our experience with Project Search has been very positive. We’ve seen a change in our daughter that shows more confidence, willing to learn and make new friends. We’re very impressed how everyone is willing to help her overcome obstacles and work with her whenever an issue arises. We think this is a great opportunity for the kids to experience and think this will be a great success.”
Parent of student intern

“Project SEARCH has not been just a job for me; it’s been an eye opening experience. It is a dynamic concept that brings out the best in everyone. The departments at ChristianaCare embrace the student interns and make them an integral part of their staff. It’s great to witness the progress the students make every day.”
Skills trainer

“I am honored and inspired to work with such a dedicated group of young adults.  Each day I am impressed at their ability to adapt and learn in such rich and engaging work environments throughout Christiana Hospital.  I am very proud of the students’ dedication and willingness to use previously learned skills as well as explore, practice, and refine new employability skills.”

“I enjoy working every day. I look forward to coming to the hospital and talking to the staff and patients. My mentor and job coach treat me like I am already a staff memberMy future goal is to work in the Operating Room. Having the opportunity to intern in the hospital will give me experience to meet my goals in life.”
Student intern

“I really enjoy getting up and going to work each day. I know how much my team needs me to do my job carefully and correctly in the Operating Room.” - Student intern

Related Content

ChristianaCare is part of a nationally recognized program dedicated to workforce development focused on individuals with significant barriers to employment. It generates partnerships with businesses that work to benefit the individual, community and the workplace.