Project SEARCH

Partnering to provide students with disabilities with experience and career opportunities

What is Project SEARCH?

Project SEARCH is a business led collaboration between Singing River Health System, Ocean Springs School District, Pascagoula-Gautier School District, and the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services that enables young adults with disabilities to gain and maintain employment through training and career exploration. It is an unpaid internship. The goal for each program participant is competitive employment. To reach that goal, the program provides real-life work experience combined with training in employability and independent-living skills to help young people with significant disabilities make successful transitions to productive adult life. As a result, at the completion of the training program, students with significant intellectual disabilities are employed in nontraditional, complex, and rewarding jobs.

What Does a Good Project SEARCH Candidate Look Like?

  • Should be finished with their high school credit requirements for graduation, certification, or completion so that they will be able to focus their entire day on gaining competitive and marketable work skills.  Agree to exit high school after successful completion of the program.
  • Must be between 18-21 years old and eligible for Special Education Services
  • Must be eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation through MS Department of Rehabilitation Services (OSSD will assist with this)
  • Must have good attendance record
  • Should have caregiver/family support to participate in planning meetings
  • Should have a positive attitude
  • Basic and effective communication skills (verbal or supported by technology)
  • Basic reading and writing skills
  • Ability to manage their own self-care (to include appropriate social, grooming, and hygiene skills
  • Able to pass drug screening and background check
  • Must complete TB testing
  • Must be prepared to make arrangements for transportation for employment upon completion of the program
  • Maintain appropriate behavior in the workplace (absent of excessive behavioral reports)
  • Have the ability to take directions and change behavior when needed
  • Ability to self-manage health needs while at the program
  • Ability to tolerate long walking/standing
  • Must have the ability to understand safety
  • Should have the ability to understand CONFIDENTIALITY. (Should have the ability to respect the privacy of others to include not listening to other people’s conversations either on the phone or in person, not trying to look at other people’s computer screens while at work)
  • There is a 45-day probationary period

Things to Know about Project SEARCH at Singing River Health System

  • There are two staff members, which include the Project SEARCH Instructor and the Job Skills Trainer. 
  • The interns follow the Ocean Springs School District Student Calendar for school days/holidays.
  • Transportation is not provided. The interns arrive around 8:00am. They participate in one hour of instruction on employability skills in a classroom located outside of the main hospital. 
  • Interns participate in work-based learning in the form of unpaid internships for up to 4.5 hours per day.
  • Interns are trained for three (3) 10-week rotations in departments around Singing River Health System
  • Departments who have previously accepted interns are Environmental Services, Pharmacy, Food Services, Sterile Processing, and Surgical Materials.
  • Applications are due in January 
  • Interviews and skills assessments are conducted in early March 
  • Award/decision letters are sent out in April

Course of Study

Unit 1: Team Building

Unit 2: Workplace Safety

Unit 3: Technology

Unit 4: Self-Advocacy

Unit 5: Maintaining Employment

Unit 6: Financial Literacy

Unit 7: Health and Wellness

Unit 8: Preparing for Employment

Unit 9. Social and Communication

Need More Information?

To find out more about Project Search, including how to apply, please contact:

Brandi Nickles, Project SEARCH – MS Coordinator | Department of Rehabilitation Services

phone: 601-506-5240 | email: [email protected]