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Project Search

Contact: For more information:
Christine Gustke, gustkec@upstate.edu
Patty Brecht, brechtp@upstate.edu.

SUNY Upstate Medical University Project SEARCH is a one year business led school-to-work program that provides employment and education opportunities to individuals with cognitive and physical disabilities. By offering total workplace immersion, Project SEARCH facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, on-the job training and support.

About Project SEARCH

The program was established to open doors to individuals who may not otherwise have the opportunity to learn the skills needed to be actively employed. Equally as important is the program's ability to evoke change in company culture by diversifying the employment pool.

Project SEARCH provides real-life work experience combined with training in employability and independent living skills. The goal of the program and what each student strives for is competitive employment within the community.

Project SEARCH at Upstate

Students begin the program with an orientation to Upstate. Students then explore the many internship opportunities available to them and will interview with the department as part of placement into the three different rotations expected to be completed by the end of the program.

Student internships are unpaid, but allow students to learn more about a particular job while working on communication, problem solving skills and other valuable skills. A classroom in Jacobsen Hall has been designated specifically for Project SEARCH at Upstate. Students begin each day as a group in the classroom, followed by internship rotations. Before the day ends, students regroup with the teacher to review homework and other important items.

Who Participates in Project SEARCH?

Project SEARCH is designed for high school students ages 18-21 whose goal is competitive employment in the community. The students work with a team that includes their family, a special education teacher, a job coach and a vocational rehabilitation counselor to create an employment goal and support the student during this important transition from school to the workplace. Students who are working toward a local diploma with a Career Development and Occupational Studies Certificate or students who areNYS Alternatively Assessed and working toward a Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential may apply.

SUNY Upstate Medical University Project SEARCH is a community effort with the following organizations: Syracuse City School District; ARC of Onondaga; CNY Developmental Disabilities Services Office (CNY DDSC); Adult Career and Continuing Education Service - Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR)