Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH is a one-year school-to-work internship program for 18-22 year olds with disabilities. The entire program takes place at a host business and is a full collaboration between a local school district, New Mexico Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (NMDVR), NM Department of Health/Developmental Disabilities Supports Division (DDSD), a local long term provider agency, a local host business, and UNM Center for Development and Disability Partners for Employment (UNM CDD PFE).

Through braided funding and combined resources, these agencies work together to provide education and support to students for three 10-week rotations over the course of the year. Students learn different employability skills in each rotation, with the overall goal of obtaining competitive employment by the end of the internship. Project SEARCH is an evidence-based national model that has met with incredible success and has been implemented throughout the US and around the world.

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Interested in joining Project SEARCH? Reach out to us.

Our History

Project SEARCH was introduced to New Mexico in 2013 by way of former UNM Regent Jamie Koch, whose daughter graduated from the Seton Medical Center Project SEARCH program in Austin, Texas. Having firsthand experience with the successes of the program, Jamie Koch proposed Project SEARCH to the UNM Board of Regents, requesting funding for a pilot program in the Albuquerque metro area.

UNM CDD oversaw coordination and facilitation of the initial planning year. NMDVR, Department of Health/DDSD, Best Buddies New Mexico and UNM Hospitals were recruited to form the collaborating partnership. From that begining in 2013, Project SEARCH New Mexico has continued to grow.

Learn More

Below are links to more information about the Project SEARCH model and its success throughout the country and in New Mexico: