Project SEARCH

What is Project SEARCH?

The Project SEARCH High School Transition Program is designed to give young people with disabilities the training and soft skills they need to transition from school to adult life.

The collaborative program is hosted by Licking Memorial Health Systems (LMHS). Led by an instructor, job coaches and directors and managers within LMHS departments, the students receive a combination of classroom instruction, career exploration and on-the-job training.

Students work on employability and functional skills in a classroom setting, but the majority of their time is spent completing three unique internship rotations in a variety of clinical and technological areas of the health systems.
The long-term goal of Project SEARCH is to provide a set of transferable skills to people with disabilities, which will result in a diverse group of motivated job seekers for employers throughout
Licking County.  At the completion of the program, students will be prepared for competitive employment and have assistance obtaining complex and rewarding jobs.


Who is eligible to participate?
Participants of Project SEARCH at LMHS must be students enrolled in a Licking County high school. The students MUST be enrolled and attending their home district during their senior year of school. They must also:
  • Be on an IEP and have a disability that is seen a as barrier to obtaining full time employment after graduation.
  • Be 18 or older by Aug. 1 of the starting year of the internship, or will not turn 22 by the end of the internship year.
  • Have completed all requirements to graduate high school, but have not yet accepted their diploma.
  • Be drug and tobacco free.
  • Talk to their school district if interested in the program.
What is the application process?

Please note: The application process has already begun for the 2017-2018 school year, but information about the 2018-19 school year is available.

  • Interested students are invited to attend an information night in the fall about the program for the following year. Information about the meeting in fall 2017 will be posted on this page when it is available.
  • Interested students and families should then talk to their school district about participating in the program. They will be asked to submit an application by early March of 2018.
  • A selection committee will review the applications and arrange candidate interviews and skills assessments.
  • If accepted, a student’s IEP team will meet before August to develop a new IEP for the upcoming school year.
  • If accepted, the student must be able to pass a criminal background check, drug screening and TB test, and show documentation of current immunizations (these will be done following confirmation of acceptance into the program. It is NOT needed to complete the application process.)
How much does it cost?

Because students who participate in Project SEARCH will complete the program before earning their high school diplomas, interns are not paid. The program is free to students. LMHS will provide uniforms to all of the students, as well as transportation, via Licking County Transit Services, for those who need it. The Licking County Foundation will reimburse each student for their footwear.

If I am a student or a parent, what are some ways to learn more?

Information about Project SEARCH  and its history can be found at projectsearch.us.

For more information about the program locally, please contact Director of Employment Supports Holly Shellogg at the Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities, at 740-349-6588 or Holly.Shellogg@lcountydd.org.

Additional information is available by contacting Sarah Kieffer at 740-349-6103 or skieffer@laca.org, or Abby Goerke at 220-564-3032 or agoerke@laca.org

Please note: The application process has already begun for the 2017-2018 school year, but information about the 2018-19 school year is available.

If I am a business owner, how can I learn more about these students and their skills?

Please contact Director of Employment Supports Holly Shellogg at the Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities, at 740-349-6588 or Holly.Shellogg@lcountydd.org.

What is the role of the Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities (LCBDD) in Project SEARCH?

The Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities has an Employment Supports department and Transition Service Coordinators who work with teens and adults to connect them with the resources they need to pursue their employment goals. For some young people, Project SEARCH is  a great option to get training and hands-on experience.

LCBDD Employment Specialists and Service Coordinators help recruit high school students who would be a good fit for the program. Once a student completes the program and finds a job, LCBDD funds extended follow-along service, provided by a local provider, to make sure the student has the skills and resources they need to be successful.

Project SEARCH newsroom:
Project SEARCH partners include:

Licking Memorial Health Systems

The Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities

The Licking County Educational Service Center

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities

Greenleaf Job Training Services

Granville Exempted Village Schools

Heath City Schools

Johnstown Monroe Local Schools

Lakewood Local Schools

Licking Heights Local Schools

Licking Valley Local Schools

Newark City Schools

North Fork Local Schools

Northridge Local Schools

Southwest Licking Local Schools