Project Search: Career Training for Young People with Disabilities
Project SEARCH is a training program for young adults with disabilities. It provides interns with complete immersion in a business setting combined with classroom instruction and personalized feedback structures. Interns graduate from the program equipped with the skills and work experience necessary to transition into paid employment in a variety of businesses
Bob Scheuer, director of Materials Management at University Hospital, was responsible for initiating a Project SEARCH pilot in 2010. Following completion of the program, graduates have a 94 percent placement rate into permanent employment throughout our community. Nine have been hired by UW Health.
"Project SEARCH is a great example of our commitment to our community and to social responsibility," he says. "It's very much in line with the ultimate aim of health care – to help people reach their greatest potential in life."
Scheuer has been a champion of the program over the years and his dedication has helped expand Project SEARCH to University Hospital's Environmental Services, Culinary Services, Central Services, Pharmacy, Clinical Labs, Radiology and Employee Health and Guest Services, and to American Family Children's Hospital. Nearby, the Waisman Center participates, as well.
"Project SEARCH interns are highly reliable, with low turnover rates, so they enhance productivity and stability," Scheuer says. "And they boost morale. Employees gain a better understanding of people with cognitive challenges and they are inspired by their work ethic and perseverance. It really changes the culture."