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Project SEARCH®

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Young adults in the Rochester area have a unique internship opportunity, thanks to a partnership between Jewish Senior Life and Heritage Christian Services. Together, the two agencies offer Project SEARCH®, which is a one-year work preparation program for people age 18 to 35 who have intellectual or developmental disabilities.

The internship offers a combination of classroom instruction, career exploration and hands-on learning with mentors so interns are able to master skills needed for competitive employment.

“People often think of a job as a way to get a paycheck, but it is so much more than that,” said Marianne Durrant, director of the Employment Alliance at Heritage Christian. “When you have work that means something to you, it opens the door to having more confidence, a sense of purpose and a more equitable role in our community.”

Each year, 10 interns are selected for the program, which also has the support of other partners, including the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, Adult Career and Continuing Education Services – Vocational Rehabilitation and Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities.

Applications are accepted throughout the year. People interested in applying should contact Jessica Bellerdine at jbellerdine@heritagechristianservices.org or at (585) 236-0161.

Understanding the Program

What Is Project SEARCH®?

Project SEARCH® was developed at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, which is still the administrative headquarters for the organization. Project SEARCH® is a business-led, one-year work-preparation program for young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Most participants are enrolled while transitioning from high school to work. The hallmark of Project SEARCH® is total workplace immersion, which facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration and hands-on training. Project SEARCH’s primary objective is to secure competitive employment for every program participant. For more information, visit www.projectsearch.us.

What Is The Jewish Senior Life Project SEARCH®?

The Jewish Senior Life Project SEARCH® Program is a business-led, 10-month pre-employment program that takes place entirely at the host business. Total workplace immersion facilitates a seamless combination of curriculum-based instruction, career exploration, skills assessment and hands-on training through three worksite rotations. Project SEARCH® is a non-paid internship experience. Heritage Christian Services provides supports during the entirety of the program.

Where and When Does the Program Take Place?

The program is located at the Jewish Senior Life at 2021 Winton Road South, Rochester, NY. It runs from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Project Search Interest Form