RSVP, Inc. has partnered with the Fredericksburg, VA office of the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), Stafford County Public Schools and Mary Washington Healthcare to establish a Project SEARCH site and provide skills training and career exploration to transitioning students with the goal of achieving successful employment.
Project SEARCH was developed at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, a research environment that fosters visionary thinking and innovation. It all began in 1996, when Erin Riehle was Director of Cincinnati Children’s Emergency Department. Erin felt that, because the hospital served individuals with developmental disabilities, it made sense that they should commit to hiring people in this group. She wondered if it would be possible to train people with developmental disabilities to fill some of the high- turnover, entry-level positions in her department, which involved complex and systematic tasks such as stocking supply cabinets. As a starting point, Erin presented her ideas to Susie Rutkowski, then the special education director at Great Oaks Career Campuses. Erin and Susie formed a partnership that was instantaneous, and together they launched Project SEARCH.
Since its inception, Project SEARCH has grown from a single program site at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to a large and continuously expanding international network of sites. Project SEARCH’s primary objective is to secure competitive employment for people with disabilities.
Learn more about Project SEARCH at projectsearch.us.
Watch the Project SEARCH 101 video for an introduction to the basic principles of the Project SEARCH program model. This publicly available version does not allow for navigation between course sections, and does not include the course quiz or completion certificate.