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Project SEARCH

Photo of Tricia Cox
Dr. Tricia Cox
Director of Student Services
Lee Worsham
Project SEARCH Coordinator

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

What is Project SEARCH?

Project SEARCH is a business led collaboration between Singing River Health System, Ocean Springs School District, Jackson County 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 disabilities make successful transitions to productive adult life. As a result, at the completion of the training program, students with 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 requirements for graduation or certificate of 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 (Districts 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 have updated immunizations (including the flu and COVID-19 vaccines)
  • 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)

Things to Know about Project SEARCH at UMMC

  • 2023-2024 will be the 3rd year for SRHS – Ocean Springs to be the host site.
  • There are 2 staff which include the Project SEARCH Instructor & a Job Skills Trainer. 
  • The interns follow the Ocean Springs School District Student Calendar for school days/holidays.
  • Interns participate in employability skills training (1 1/2 Hours) & work-based learning (4 Hours) in the form of an unpaid internships.
  • They are trained for 3 - ten-week rotations in departments around Singing River Health System – Ocean Springs Hospital.
  • Departments that have previously accepted interns are Environmental Services, Radiology, Guest Services, Food Services, Cardiac Rehab, Serial Processing, and Facilities/Maintenance. 
  • Applications are due in February 
  • Interviews and skills assessments are conducted in early March 
  • Award and denial letters are sent out in April

Photos from Project SEARCH