What is Project Search?
Project Search is a dedicated program focused on providing education and training to young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The program is an innovative workforce and career development model that benefits the individual, the workplace, and the community.
The internship is one school year in length and consists of three, ten week rotations through a host business. There are four Project Search sites in three school districts in Sedgwick County. Wichita Public Schools (USD 259) has two of those sites, Sedgwick County government, and Via Christi Hospital. Derby Public Schools (USD 260) Project Search site is located at McConnell Air Force Base; Mulvane Public Schools (USD 263) Project Search site is located at the Hampton Inn & Suites at the Kansas Star casino. The primary goal for Project Search is to prepare each intern for competitive employment upon completion of the yearlong skill-building experience.
Project Search began in 1996 at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. It was developed as a means to meet entry level employment needs, to support diversity initiatives and to partner with schools and community service agencies. There are over 280 Project Search sites in 42 states as well as in England, Scotland, Ireland and Canada. The most impressive aspect of Project Search program is that the employment rate for interns post Project Search is 73% as of the summer of 2015. This program works!
What is the Business Advisory Council?
Each Project Search site relies upon the support and guidance of a Business Advisory Council (B.A.C.). The B.A.C. is a business driven initiative whose purpose is to help move Project Search interns into competitive employment after graduation. B.A.C. members should be willing to promote the program and its mission in their networking circles and to help create employment opportunities for the Project Search interns. B.A.C. members provide advice regarding hiring trends, current needed skills in the job market, assistance with resume’ writing, developing interview skills and identifying employment opportunities within their organization or another organization.
The B.A.C. works to identify obstacles that may preclude an intern from successfully obtaining employment. As a training and employment program, Project Search hopes that members of the B.A.C. will engage with interns and ensure their learning is authentic, so they can strive towards the goal of 100% intern employment.
B.A.C. Membership Benefits
- Being a B.A.C. member will help you enhance employer and community understanding of the employability of people with disabilities
- Being a B.A.C. member will provide perspective on how hard interns are willing to work for a job
- Being a B.A.C. member will give you the opportunity to shape the future of a young adult
- Being a B.A.C. member will help you change how businesses grow
- Members are expected to attend five to six, one hour meetings per school year
- Help move the Project Search Interns into mainstream employment
- Advise Project Search staff in program development
- Members should have hiring influence within their organization
- Assist Project Search in the goal of 100% employment for Project Search graduates
- Conduct mock interviews with interns
- Conduct resume reviews
- Critique intern portfolios
- Mentor interns
- Review skills to help interns find employment opportunities