Project SEARCH is a national program often run at hospitals throughout the United States and is a nine-month internship and job training program for young adults with developmental disabilities ages 18-30. Abilis has been running Project SEARCH in partnership with Greenwich Hospital for the past four years, and in 2022, expanded the program to include the Darien YMCA. The Darien YMCA is the first Y in the country to offer the Project SEARCH program.
Project SEARCH targets young adults with developmental disabilities for competitive employment. The Abilis Project SEARCH program at Greenwich Hospital offers hospital related jobs. At the Darien YMCA, interns learn many different jobs in multiple departments in the facility, including childcare, fitness centers and The Café. The program offers total immersion in the workplace and facilitates the teaching and learning process as well as the acquisition of employability and marketable work skills. Interns participate in three, unpaid internships throughout the nine-month program and explore a variety of careers. In addition, interns increase their independence, self-confidence, and self-esteem, preparing them for future employment.
“Abilis has been successfully running the Project SEARCH program at Greenwich Hospital and at the Darien YMCA,” noted Amy Montimurro, CEO and president of Abilis. “Our Project SEARCH graduates have successfully gained employment and developed skills and we are thankful that our partnerships with Greenwich Hospital and the Darien YMCA to have provided opportunities for our interns to experience a variety of jobs and learn new skills.”
Project SEARCH is a collaboration among Abilis, Greenwich Hospital, Darien YMCA and the Connecticut Department of Developmental Services. To be eligible or Project SEARCH, the applicant must be between the ages of 18 and 30 and eligible for Development of Disabilities Services or willing to pay privately.
Applications for both Project SEARCH locations are being accepted now and it is recommended that if you are interested, you apply, as enrollment fills quickly. Applications are in both English and Spanish and available online at abilis.us/project-search.
Pictured are a previous class of the Abilis Project SEARCH interns at Greenwich Hospital. Photo credit Abilis.