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LCHC partners with Mosaic for Project SEARCH

Beginning Sept. 16, Lucas County Health Center (LCHC) will be hosting five interns from Mosaic to create Project SEARCH, a nine month internship program for people with disabilities whose goal is competitive employment.

During their time at LCHC, interns will participate in three internships within Nutritional Services and Plant Operations. The interns work with a team that includes their family, case manager and provider (Mosaic) to create an employment goal and support the person during this important transition to competitive work. The program will allow total immersion in the workplace and facilitates the teaching and learning process, as well as the acquisition of employability and marketable work skills.

Project SEARCH was developed at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. It all began in 1996 when Erin Riehle was director of Cincinnati Children’s Emergency Department. Riehle felt, because the hospital served individuals with developmental disabilities, it made sense they should commit to hiring people in this group.

She wondered if it would be possible to train people with developmental disabilities to fill some of the high-turnover, entry level positions in her department, which involved complex and systematic tasks, such as stocking supply cabinets. As a starting point, Riehle presented her ideas to Susie Rutkowski, then the special education director at Great Oaks Career Campuses. They formed a partnership and together they launched Project SEARCH.

Since its inception, Project SEARCH has grown from a single program site at Cincinnati Children’s to more than 200 sites across the United States and Canada, England, Scotland and Australia. Project SEARCH’s primary objective is to secure competitive employment for people with disabilities.

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