Where your future begins

Project SEARCH

Categorized In: Pre-Employment Transition Services - Services

Approved Date: September 24, 2019

Owner: Lupe Stevens

The Project SEARCH Transition 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 in workplace readiness, job exploration, and hands-on experience through worksite rotations. The goal is to prepare interns for competitive employment. 

Nebraska VR’s goal is to develop partnerships with businesses, educational institutions and community agencies to provide specialized skill training that leads to competitive employment in the community. The key features of specialized training programs include classroom skill training, work-based skill development through internships, mentoring and employability skill development. 

(Adults may participate in Project SEARCH sites when the Project SEARCH Program Agreement allows. Adult only sites must be developed in cooperation with an educational partner, an adult service provider and a business)

•    A Project SEARCH Program Agreement (previously referred to as an MOU) is developed yearly between all of the partners that addresses the purpose, a description of the program and defines the roles and responsibilities of each of the partners. Signatures from each of the participating partners should be obtained prior to the beginning of the program. All signatures should be on a single sheet. The local Office Director is responsible for obtaining the signatures of all parties and submitting to the Program Director for Transition. Once all signatures are obtained, a final copy should be made available to each of the partners.
Partners in the Project SEARCH Team include: the business, the school district and/or ESU, Nebraska VR, NCBVI, Assistive Technology Partnership, DHHS (Division of Developmental Disabilities)

•    The Project SEARCH team determines who will be responsible for employing the worksite skills trainer. VR will provide funding assistance for the worksite skills trainer up to $25,000 per year, via a service agreement.

•    Authorizations are prepared based on the number of students at the Project SEARCH site; $25,000/number of students is the authorization amount per student.  The contractor is encouraged to submit invoices, which include the names of the student interns and the pay stubs and all supporting information for the worksite skills trainer for reimbursement at regular intervals. Invoices for August and September must be submitted by October 15th.

•    Uniforms, required background checks and immunizations costs are payable to the business on receipt of invoices; authorizations must be in place prior to purchases.

•    New Project SEARCH sites may be developed in cooperation with partners (the process for development can take up to several months to identify partners, ensure understanding of the model and facilitate training). Nebraska VR may, after consultation, contribute up to $5000 of the national Project SEARCH $16,000 training fee for establishing a new site. 

•    Site licenses are paid by a partner other than VR, typically the school district and, in rare instances, the business.



VR Core Roles and Responsibilities

Program Director of Transition
•    Statewide Coordinator of the Project SEARCH program in Nebraska
•    Liaison to national Project SEARCH
•    Coordinates the site development with the local team
•    Coordinates Project SEARCH training for new sites
•    Coordinates the Statewide Project SEARCH meeting
•    Ensures the necessary data for national Project SEARCH is recorded in accordance with the deadlines
•    Collects data from sites including number of interns, names of interns, number of graduates and outcome data
•    Ensures and consults on the fidelity of Nebraska sites to Project SEARCH model
•    Assists teams in the self-audit process
•    Ensures VR specialist is performing Team Liaison duties
•    Project SEARCH team member and participates in team meetings as appropriate
•    Visits each Project SEARCH site yearly or more often as needed/appropriate
•    Performs case reviews on Project SEARCH interns and submits copies to VR State Director
•    Ensures Service Agreements are completed and updated appropriately and in a timely manner
•    Initiates development of the yearly Program Agreement in coordination with the partners
•    Initiates Letter Contracts to provide training funds for the teacher/worksite skills trainer to access training in pre-employment transition services, when funds are available

Program Director for Business Services
•    Coordinates Business Advisory Councils

Program Director for Transition and Program Director for Business Services 
•    Develops new Project SEARCH sites through contact with possible business and education partners
•    Ensures placement activities are implemented prior to graduation, in accordance with developed IPE 

Office Director
•    Assists the Program Directors for Transition and Business Services with the identification of possible partners
•    Participates in the development of new sites
•    Supervises VR Project SEARCH liaisons and attends meetings as needed
•    Circulates Program Agreements and ensures receipt by August 1
•    Ensures placement activities are implemented prior to graduation, in accordance with developed IPE 

VR Specialist/Project SEARCH Liaison 
•    Acts as VR representative to Project SEARCH Team and participates in monthly meetings & intern meetings
•    Partners with Project SEARCH Team for intern recruitment and participates in recruitment activities
•    Participates in activities such as Open House, Parent Night & Graduation
•    Ensures each participant is eligible and has a signed Pre-Employment Transition Consent & Release and/or a VR application prior to participating in Project SEARCH
•    Initiates a VR application/eligibility for interns who do not already have this in place
•    Ensures development of IPE for interns who have been removed from the waiting list 
•    Enters the appropriate services in QE2
•    Once IPE is developed, ensures IPE includes Supported Employment, when necessary
•    Once IPE is developed, provides placement services to Project SEARCH participants or designates another VR specialist to provide services  
•    Ensures clients who qualify for Supported Employment will receive employment services and long term supports, as appropriate, through designated provider and initiate milestone payments accordingly
•    Provides employment follow-up services to support the achievement of successful closure
•    Submits data to Program Director for Transition including number of interns, names of interns, number of graduates and outcome data
•    Ensures Video & Media release is in place for each participant

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