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Project SEARCH

About Project SEARCHTM

Project SEARCHTM, founded in 1994 at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, is a nationally and internationally recognized program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) who are interested in training and preparation for competitive employment. Under the leadership of J. Erin Riehle and Susie Rutkowski, there are more than 300 Project SEARCH programs throughout the United States, Great Britain, Australia, and Canada. Visit the About Us page to read more.

Project SEARCH New York

Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) serves as the statewide coordinator for Project SEARCH in New York State. Collaborating with the Project SEARCH team at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, SCDD provides technical assistance to communities who are interested in starting a Project SEARCH program. Please contact us for more information.

SCDD directly coordinates three local Project SEARCH programs in the Rochester area, including programs at Wegmans, the City of Rochester, and the University of Rochester Medical Center. Additionally, a new adult program aimed at helping adults transition out of a sheltered workshop and into employment is currently in development.

Since 2009, the Rochester area Project SEARCH programs have graduated 96 youth. Our local programs have a tremendous success rate, with 84% of graduates successfully moving into competitive, integrated employment upon completion of the program. On average, our graduates are working 23 hours per week and earning $8.49/hour.

For more information about our local programs, download the Project SEARCH Brochure

New York State Project SEARCH Expansion

The B. Thomas Golisano Foundation brought Project SEARCH to the Greater Rochester Area and provided the essential funding to develop local partnerships. The NYS Developmental Disability Planning Council also provided funding to support initial coordination of Project SEARCH. Ongoing coordination of Project SEARCH in New York State, including continued expansion efforts, is funded by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Project SEARCH Evaluation

SCDD has partnered with the National Project SEARCH team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to measure and evaluate the long-term impact of Project SEARCH on employment outcomes for youth and young adults with IDD. Analysis of longitudinal outcome data indicates that Project SEARCH not only prepares participants to enter the workforce, but that program graduates are successfully maintaining employment over time.

Full results of this evaluation effort are currently in press. For more information, please contact Julie Christensen, Ph.D., Director of Employment Programs.