Shining a light on Project SEARCH

In this ever-changing economy, finding a secure career path after high school can be a challenge for any student, especially those with developmental disabilities. But an innovative program offers opportunities.

Durham Regional Hospital participates in Project SEARCH, an international program that prepares local students with developmental and intellectual disabilities for the workforce through on-the-job training and specialized education.

Durham Regional Hospital’s Project SEARCH Class of 2012, pictured above with Durham Public Schools instructors and job coaches, graduated in June. The Class of 2013 began in August.

Project SEARCH began at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital as a way to help young people with disabilities receive valuable job training. Since its creation in 1996, Project SEARCH has been adopted by more than 200 facilities internationally, and Durham Regional has joined this award-winning program. In partnerships with Durham Public Schools, Alliance Behavioral Healthcare, North Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation and OE Enterprises, Inc., Durham Regional is the first hospital to host Project SEARCH in North Carolina.

During the program, students at Durham Regional divide their time between classroom study and hands-on training in hospital departments. Classes are led by instructors from Durham Public Schools and job coaches from OE Enterprises. Students participate in eight-week rotations in a range of departments, including

  • Ambulatory Care Unit
  • Central Sterile Reprocessing
  • Copy Center
  • Environmental Services
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Human Resources
  • Operating Room
  • Security

In these roles, student responsibilities can range from stocking supplies and assembling blood-drawing kits to serving food in the hospital cafeteria and helping with parking lot security. Students also participate in job education, such as how to interview, accept a position and formally resign from a position.

Read more about Project SEARCH in the latest issue of Your Health, Durham Regional’s health and wellness publication for the community, or visit

One thought on “Shining a light on Project SEARCH

  1. Pingback: Shining a light on Project SEARCH | Durham Regional Hospital | Vocational Training

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