What is Palo Alto Project SEARCH?

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford’s Project SEARCH is a collaborative program between Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD), Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford , HOPE Services, and San Andreas Regional Center (SARC).  Project SEARCH provides vocational training and education that can lead to employment for individuals with disabilities within the healthcare industry. Applicants apply to the program and are accepted as interns through a selection committee process. The Program focuses on serving individuals with significant intellectual disabilities.  Applicants must be eligible for services with the DOR (mandatory) and the Regional Center (mandatory).

The cornerstone of Project SEARCH is total immersion in a workplace setting. For five days a week, interns report to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, to learn employability skills and transferable job skills by participating in a daily one-hour class, and 4-hour work rotations. Each intern participates in three, 10-week work rotations during the school year. The ultimate goal is employment in healthcare or other professional setting.

During the internships, the intern learns employability and job-specific skills. Interns work closely with the Project SEARCH team to define personal career goals and develop a plan to achieve those goals.  The program has a credentialed special education teacher, instructional assistant and employment training specialists that work with both the interns and the hospital staff.  LPCH Managers and Supervisors work closely with Project staff to help support the interns during the day.  Interns are given feedback regarding their work performance, appearance and social skills from department manager, co-workers (mentors) and the LPCH Project SEARCH team.  Interns are responsible for their own transportation to/from the LPCH campus.  Public transportation is available from most areas.  As part of the program, interns will receive travel training from their house to the hospital.  Interns end their day with a 30-minute debriefing session, giving them an opportunity to reflect, problem solve and plan.

The History of Project SEARCH

J. Erin Riehle, RN, then the Director of the Emergency Room at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, established Project SEARCH in 1996. She was in need of reliable workers to stock supplies in her department.  She worked with a local school and service providers to hire three individuals to work in the emergency department.  Since then, the program has expanded to more than 199 sites nationwide.  Project SEARCH-Cincinnati has helped replicate the program in numerous cities and a variety of businesses, including financial services, manufacturing and government agencies.   Currently in Northern California, there are Project SEARCH sites at Oakland Children’s Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, UCSF, San Mateo Medical Center and the County of Alameda.

The LPCH Project SEARCH is collaboration among these entities:

  • Palo Alto Unified School District
  • Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford
  • HOPE Services
  • San Andreas Regional Center

What does Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford Project SEARCH Program offer to Interns?

  • A teaching environment that embraces diversity, committed to innovative practice and customer service.
  • A professional work environment that teaches transferable employment skills as well as skills specific to the healthcare, a growing industry in today’s challenged economy.

What does Project SEARCH offer to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford?

  • Demonstrates to the hospital personnel, patients and their families that LPCH embraces diversity and is committed to equal opportunities for all.
  • Interns serve as great role models to patients with disabilities.
  • Interns complete work assignments that support LPCH services.
  • Little or no cost: LPCH Project SEARCH is funded by PAUSD, HOPE Services and the San Andreas Regional Center. The Hospital is responsible for in-kind support for the program (e.g. business liaison’s time, classroom space and office equipment/supplies)

Program Goals

  • Ongoing partnership between host business, agencies and schools
  • Career Exploration in a variety of entry-level positions
  • Travel Training – access public transportation, when available
  • Participation in Employability Skills curriculum
  • Practice in interviewing, feedback and assessment with Project SEARCH and department staff
  • Completion of three internship/work rotations (10 – 12 weeks each)
  • Attainment of competitive, marketable, transferable job skills
  • Documentation of skills and summary of knowledge (i.e. resume, letters of recommendation, portfolio)
  • Job Placement assistance in a competitive job matching interns’ skills and interests 
Application Information

A. Selection Process

The purpose of this application packet is to get basic information about the candidate’s background, interests, and support needs in an employment environment.  If selected for an interview, candidates will be asked to provide more detailed information.  A parent, student, counselor, teacher or employer may be contacted by the Selection Committee to gather additional information.  Our goal is to select interns who will be successful in the LPCH Project SEARCH program and reach the outcome of competitive employment.  This application packet is used for both high school transition and adult (recent graduate) candidates.

The Selection Process includes the following guidelines:

  1. Submit the completed application by February 24, 2017 to: PAUSD or HOPE
  2. The Selection Committee will review the applications and arrange interviews (March 23/24).  Applicants not selected for interviews will be notified.
  3. Applicants will be notified of acceptance or denial within 2 weeks of the interview.  If accepted, an IEP or ISP will be developed with the school or adult service provider for the PAUSD  2017-2018 school year (September, 2017 to June, 2018).
  4. If accepted, the applicant must meet the requirements of the host business site (LPCH) to begin the program. Requirements include proof of negative TB Test, current immunizations, completion of host business paperwork, criminal background clearance, drug testing, health screening and/or other requirements.
  5. If accepted, the student/intern and parent/guardian must sign a LPCH Project SEARCH Intern Contract.

B.  Make-up of Selection Committee

The Selection Committee will include multiple levels of expertise to evaluate applicants and may include:

  • Project SEARCH teacher
  • Special Education representative
  • LPCH representative(s)
  • HOPE Services representative
  • Regional Center representative

C.  Selection Criteria (Program Eligibility)  

  • Be at least 18 years of age, a recent graduate or in their final year of school with district.
  • Meet eligibility requirements for Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) services.
  • Meet eligibility requirements of San Andreas Regional Center (SARC). 
  • Good personal hygiene and grooming skills.
  • Once trained, able to be independent in the hospital setting for short periods of time. 
  • Maintain appropriate behavior and social skills in the workplace
  • Take direction from instructor, transition staff, mentor or supervisors and change behavior as needed.
  • Able to consistently attend a full school-day (6 hours) for a full school-year.
  • Able to adhere to the host business' standards of dress and professional conduct.
  • Able to communicate effectively as needed using a combination of verbal, nonverbal and/or technologically-assisted methods of expression.
  • Have a desire to explore transportation options including public transportation when available, and be trained to travel independently.
  • Have previous experience in a work environment (including school, volunteer, and paid work).
  • Able to pass host business eligibility (requirements may include health screen, drug screen, criminal background check, current immunizations and proof of negative TB test.
  • Desire and plan to work competitively in the community (and have necessary documentation in order to legally work).

D.  Planned make-up of the 2017-18 Project SEARCH program:

  • 1 Credentialed Special Education Teacher (Moderate-Severe)
  • 1 Instructional Assistant
  • 1 Employment Training Specialist and additional Employment Training Specialists as assigned and needed for training in new rotations
  • 6-9 High School Transition student interns and 3 adult interns

E.  Recruitment Timeline

Activity Date
Application Packets distributed  January 11, 2017
Project SEARCH Information Open House  For students, parents, and interested community members January 11, 2017
Project SEARCH Applications due to PAUSD or HOPE Services Feb 24, 2017
Selection Committee Interviews (By letter invitation ONLY) March 23/24, 2017
Letters of Acceptance April 14, 2017
IEPs written, after acceptance, with affiliated school and team members May 2017
ISP’s Prepared August 2017
LPCH on-boarding starts July/August 2017
Project SEARCH 2016-17 internships begin September 11, 2017
Kick Off Party September 15, 2017

F.  Application Packet Checklist

1.  Application Packet

2.  Consent to Release Medical and Vocational Information (included in Application)

3.  Agreement to Program Terms and Conditions (included in Application)

4.  Copy of Photo ID Card

5.  Copy of current Shot/Immunization Record

6.  High School Transcript and/or copy of Document of Completion

7.  Attendance Record

8.  Current Individual Education Plan (IEP) including Transition Goals {for current students}

9.  Copy of Evaluation Team Report {for current students}

10.  Copy of Individual Program Plan {for recent graduates}

11.  Current Referral Packet from San Andreas Regional Center, that includes, Social/Medical/ Psychological  CDER, and IEP  (if available) {for recent graduates}

12.  Copy of Resident Alien card OR Social Security Card AND California picture ID with picture OR Driver’s License/United States Passport

Project Search Application