Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH is a school-to-work transition program for young adults with significant intellectual and developmental disabilities. Project SEARCH started at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 1996 and has since grown to over 500 Project SEARCH sites nationally and internationally.

The students participating in Project SEARCH are fully immersed at the UCHealth hospital in their area to learn job skills with the goal of securing competitive employment. Programs are currently available at University of Colorado Hospital on the Anschutz Medical Campus, Greeley Hospital, and Memorial Hospital Central in Colorado Springs.

About Project SEARCH at UCHealth

Our holistic approach and successful placement of young adults.

Since starting the program in 2017, UCHealth has worked with and supported dozens of young adults who have successfully attended and graduated from the program. According the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the employment rate for those with a disability was 19.3% in 2019, a stark contrast to the 66.3% for those without a disability. Operating a successful Project SEARCH requires an employment rate of 75% or above. UCHealth consistently places young adults in successful long-term jobs at a rate of 90% or greater since starting in 2017.

Project SEARCH at UCHealth takes a holistic approach to working with the young adults in our program. This includes highlighting strengths, identifying interests, overcoming barriers and challenges, and striving to obtain competitive employment that matches what works best for the young adult and their family. UCHealth’s leadership and staff acknowledge the exceptional contribution these young adults make in over 100 participating hospital units across our three participating UCHealth hospitals. Their involvement has brought a new dimension to our mission of Improving Lives.

Eligibility for Project SEARCH

To be eligible to apply to Project SEARCH, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Completed graduation requirements but deferred diploma or are willing to defer diploma.
  • Currently enrolled in a local high school special education program or transition program.
  • Have a strong desire to work.
  • Willing to apply for services with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) as well as enroll in services with the preferred Community Center Board (CCB).
  • Open to travel training to gain skills to travel to the program independently via public transportation, Access-a-Ride, carpooling, etc.

Application process guidelines

For applicants interested in:

UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital - Anschutz

Project SEARCH applications are accepted from October to February. Please send an email to Stephanie Crookston at stephanie.crookston@uchealth.org to request that a secure application be sent to you.

Please note:

  1. All students selected to advance by the Selection Committee must participate in the Skills Assessment Day and interview phase to be ultimately considered for a spot in the Project SEARCH. All students asked to advance to the Skills Assessment Day and interview phase will be instructed on the day a time to be present for the Skills Assessment Day and interview by the Project SEARCH Program Managers. A family member or guardian must attend this session with the student.
  2. Students who are deemed most eligible to be successful in a 1-year employment program will be selected for Project SEARCH. Applicants may be denied entrance to the program, or be asked to re-apply for the subsequent program year.
  3. Project SEARCH on the Anschutz Medical Campus is made possible by a partnership between Jefferson County Public Schools (Jeffco) and Children’s Hospital Colorado/University of Colorado Hospital. This partnership allows Project SEARCH to accept all Denver Metro school district students for this program. Once accepted to Project SEARCH, all participants must be choice enrolled into Jeffco Public Schools, regardless of which district is considered their “home” district. If you have questions about this, please contact Stephanie Crookston (see contact information below).
  4. Project SEARCH maintains that a student’s post-school goals as identified on the IEP are appropriately and rigorously addressed through participation in the program and eligibility for public education is no longer necessary at the end of the school year. A graduation ceremony will take place at the end of the Project SEARCH program year at your student’s assigned program site (Children’s Hospital Colorado or University of Colorado Hospital), at which they will receive their diploma from the home school district.
  5. In addition to our partnership with Jefferson County Public Schools, Project SEARCH is made possible by the contributions of several other key agencies. As a participant in Project SEARCH, your student may require application to receive services and support from the following agencies to participate in Project SEARCH.
    • Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
    • Jefferson County Business and Workforce Center
    • Via Mobility
    • ARC – Jefferson County and Denver Metro ARC locations
    • Denver Metro Community Centered Boards (CCBs)

UCHealth Greeley Hospital

Applications are accepted October to December for the upcoming school year. Please send an email to Heather Jackson at Heather.Jackson3@uchealth.org to request that a secure application be sent to you.

Please note:

  1. All students selected to advance by the Selection Committee must participate in the Skills Assessment Day and interview phase to be considered for a placement in Project SEARCH. Students invited to advance to the Skills Assessment Day and interview phase will be advised of the day and time to attend, and a family member or guardian must attend as well.
  2. Students who are deemed most eligible to be successful in a 1-year employment program will be selected for Project SEARCH. Applicants may be denied entrance to the program, or be asked to re-apply for the subsequent program year.
  3. Project SEARCH is made possible by a partnership between Greeley Evans District 6 and UCHealth Greeley Hospital. Participants must reside in Weld County.
  4. Project SEARCH maintains that a student’s post-school goals as identified on the IEP are appropriately and rigorously addressed through participation in the program and eligibility for public education is no longer necessary at the end of the school year. A graduation ceremony will take place at the end of the Project SEARCH program year at your student’s assigned program, at which they will receive their diploma from the home school district.
  5. In addition to Greeley Evans District 6, Project SEARCH is made possible through partnership with several other key agencies. As a participant in Project SEARCH, students may be required to apply to receive services and support from the following agencies:
    • Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
    • The ARC of Weld County
    • Employment Services of Weld County
    • Envision
    • Greeley Evans Transit (GET)

UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central

Project SEARCH applications are accepted from October to February. Please send an email to Beth Konikoff at Beth.Konikoff@uchealth.org to request that a secure application be sent to you.

Please note:

  1. All students selected to advance by the Selection Committee must participate in the Skills Assessment Day and interview phase to be ultimately considered for a spot in the Project SEARCH. All students asked to advance to the Skills Assessment Day and interview phase will be instructed on the day a time to be present for the Skills Assessment Day and interview by the Project SEARCH Program Managers. A family member or guardian must attend this session with the student.
  2. Students who are deemed most eligible to be successful in a 1-year employment program will be selected for Project SEARCH. Applicants may be denied entrance to the program, or be asked to re-apply for the subsequent program year.
  3. Project SEARCH is made possible by a partnership between Academy District 20 and UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central.
  4. Project SEARCH maintains that a student’s post-school goals as identified on the IEP are appropriately and rigorously addressed through participation in the program and eligibility for public education is no longer necessary at the end of the school year. A graduation ceremony will take place at the end of the Project SEARCH program year at your student’s assigned program, at which they will receive their diploma from the home school district.
  5. In addition to our partnership with Academy District 20, Project SEARCH is made possible by the contributions of several other key agencies. As a participant in Project SEARCH, your student may require application to receive services and support from the following agencies to participate in Project SEARCH.
    • Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
    • Pikes Peak Workforce Center
    • The Resource Exchange (TRE)

Contact us

Have questions or issues?

UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital: Send email communications to Stephanie Crookston at stephanie.crookston@uchealth.org.

UCHealth Greeley Hospital: Send email communications to Heather Jackson at heather.jackson3@uchealth.org.

UCHealth Memorial Central Hospital: Send email communications to Beth Konikoff at beth.konikoff@uchealth.org.