Project SEARCH Toronto is a school-to-work transition program for youth who have developmental or intellectual disabilities. The program takes place entirely at a workplace. Students prepare for employment through a combination of:
- classroom instruction,
- hands-on training through 3 co-op rotations, and
- career exploration and individualized job development
In their final year of high school, Project SEARCH Toronto students are immersed at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and Toronto Rehab-UHN. A typical day begins and ends with classroom instruction, led by a Toronto District School Board (TDSB) teacher based at Toronto Rehab-UHN’s Rumsey-Neuro Centre. Topics focus on career exploration and life skills that will help make students successful in the work place, such as time management and building professional communication skills.
Students are supported at their co-op placements by the teacher and job & skills developers from Community Living Toronto. After graduation, Community Living Toronto provides personalized employment support so students secure quality jobs.
Project SEARCH Toronto is powered by partnerships including the business site hosts (Holland Bloorview and Toronto Rehab-UHN), an educational partner (TDSB) and a developmental service partner (Community Living Toronto). The Project SEARCH program model was introduced to Ontario as an innovative best practice by the Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN). United Way Greater Toronto’s Career Navigator program is an important partner for Project SEARCH Toronto. Career Navigator is the signature program of United Way’s 10 year Youth Success Strategy and promotes success for youth facing multiple barriers through interconnected education, training, job placement, soft skills and wrap-around supports.
All partner organizations are involved in providing leadership for the operations of Project SEARCH Toronto.
The Project SEARCH model
The Project SEARCH model was developed at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 1996 and has since spread to 600+ sites worldwide. The model boasts a strong success rate – about 75 percent of students secure quality employment within a year of graduation.
For more information on the history and story of Project SEARCH visit www.projectsearch.us.
Community Partners in the Project SEARCH Toronto initiative