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Big Congrats to Project SEARCH Grads in Palo Alto!

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.
Wednesday -- June 18 -- will mark the commencement ceremony for nine graduates, who are completing Project SEARCH, a unique, business-led, one-year, school-to-work program focused on building high level work skills for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Four of the nine graduates already have jobs upon graduating and one of them has been hired by the Stanford Hospital and Clinics, a first for the program.

This effective program has a 77 percent employment rate which outshines the 17 percent employment rate for individuals with disabilities who do not have the opportunity to attend a program like Project Search.

“The managers and coworkers that the interns and our Project SEARCH staff have worked with have been supportive, engaging, open-minded, and welcoming to our interns," said Brian Cordero, Project Search Instructor and PAUSD employee.

"Since they support our students joining a variety of departments where they can learn abroad set of skills, our students are more competitive after graduation. HOPE Services provides outstanding training that the students are able to practice in a variety of hands-on ways at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital," he said. "This three-way partnership provides a base for these students to be successful throughout their lives.”

Project SEARCH takes place completely at the workplace. [VIDEO: here.]

This total workplace immersion facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and relevant job skills training allowing students to grow both vocationally and socially while increasing their ability to live independently and to be part of the larger community by being a valued employee.

Project SEARCH serves students primarily from the Palo Alto Unified School District who are in their last year of high school and on an Individual Education Plan, but also includes students who have exited local school districts and are receiving services through HOPE Services and Regional Centers such as the San Andreas Regional Center.

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