What is Project SEARCH?
Project SEARCH is a partnership between the Jackson County Intermediate School District, Consumers Energy, Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS), and Work Skills Corporation. The internship program takes place at Consumers Energy’s Parnall and One Energy Plaza locations, with interns working in various departments including the print shop, the cafe, facilities, market research, internal communications, and mail processing, among others.
The Project SEARCH Internship Program is a unique, business led, one year school-to-work program that takes place entirely at the workplace. Total workplace immersion facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and hands-on training through worksite rotations.
The internship program started during the 2018-2019 school year, with 9 interns participating and 7 interns graduating from the program in the spring of 2019. In the 2019-2020 school year, 12 interns participated in Project SEARCH, with 10 interns completing. Graduation was scheduled for late May 2020, but had to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 12 interns are expected to participate in Project SEARCH during the 2020-2021 school year, the program’s third year.
Where does the program take place?
Consumers Energy in Jackson, MI
Who is eligible to participate?
Students with an IEP who completed high school and have a desire to work.
What are the goals of the program?
The goal for each intern is competitive employment. The Project SEARCH model involves an extensive period of training and career exploration, innovative adaptations, long-term job coaching, and continuous feedback from teachers, job coaches, and employers. At the completion of the training program, students with significant intellectual disabilities can be employed in nontraditional, complex and rewarding jobs.
What does it mean to be a Project SEARCH intern?
An intern is a student who has been accepted into the Project SEARCH Program, has a strong desire to work, no behavioral/attendance concerns and is eager to gain employment through a work experience. Interns will be expected to participate in Consumers Energy’s work culture, uphold their vision, mission and abide by all policies/procedures.
Why is this considered as a student’s last year of school?
The goal of Project SEARCH is to provide interns with marketable and transferable skills that lead to employment. Interested students should anticipate earning employment opportunities once they have completed their internship experience.
How do student interns get to Project SEARCH each day?
Interns are responsible for their own transportation either through personal or public transportation. Project SEARCH does not provide transportation.
If a student is interested in Project SEARCH, what should the student do?
Students should contact their special education teacher or the school district’s teacher consultant. They will provide students and families with application information.