Eight young adults graduate NIH Project SEARCH with enhanced workplace, community skills
Surrounded by NIH employees, parents and friends, eight young adults received a standing ovation as they graduated the NIH Project SEARCH program June 13.
Project SEARCH at NIH provides education and training to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The program involves a 30-week internship for participants to strengthen their workforce and career skills. The transition to adulthood marks a big turning point in life for everyone, but for young people with disabilities that transition can be very tough. Young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities are three times less likely to be employed in their 20s than those without disabilities. If they are employed, many are underemployed, despite their ability, desire and willingness to work.
"The goal of Project SEARCH NIH is to attempt to level the playing field for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are transitioning from school to work," said Denise Ford, NIH team lead for Project SEARCH.
More than 70 graduates have completed the program at NIH and over 75% of graduates find employment either at NIH or in the community within six months of graduation.
The program is supported by the Ivymount School’s Post High School Program which prepares students for a successful transition from school to employment and adult life; and SEEC, a local nonprofit that provides community-based employment support to transitioning youth and adults.