Project SEARCH at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, an educational and work
transition program for those with cognitive and/or physical
disabilities, is customized to the needs of each participant to help
them gain and sustain employment and greater independence. Project
SEARCH works with the business community to effectively access this
underutilized worker pool to strengthen and diversify the workforce.
Established in October 2010, Project SEARCH at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital
combines real-life work experience through the integration of classroom
instruction and on-the-job training. The cornerstone of the program is
immersion in the community and partnering with local businesses and
corporations to provide our interns with on-the-job experience, job
coaching and mentoring that provides the skills and experience that
allows them to compete for jobs on an equal footing with other
Project SEARCH: Our Approach
In partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor &
Industry’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and local business
partners, Project SEARCH is a unique program that offers adults with
disabilities the tools and training they need to work a minimum of 20
hours per week in a job that matches their interests and capabilities.
The program is broken down into three sections: classroom training,
internships and job searching.
During time in the classroom, our Project SEARCH interns are trained in
the following skills:
work readiness: education on worker characteristics,
professionalism, dress, communications, rules, etc.
business communication: developing a resume, writing a cover
letter, completing an application
interviewing strategies and practice
job searching skills
disclosing a disability
building a peer support network with the other interns
Over three 12-week rotations, interns receive:
classroom training and valuable, transferable job skills
an opportunity to explore various careers and gain on the job
experience, which helps strengthen their resume
networking opportunities with professionals in the field
ongoing monitoring and support from peer mentors and job
coaches, as needed.
Following the completion of the 12-week program, the Project SEARCH
staff works with interns in the following ways to help them maintain a
encourages and supports interns to apply for positions for a
16-week period, if not immediately hired.
offers opportunities to meet with Project SEARCH staff to
complete job searches, fill out applications, prepare for
interns will have support of a job coach on their employment
interview as well as support on site when employment is secured.
supports interns as they independently pursue jobs, after the
completion of their training.
Ways to Get Involved
Main Line Health System was Project SEARCH’s first business partner.
Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital is always expanding the number of companies and
local businesses involved in Project SEARCH, enriching the number of
opportunities within interns’ reach and facilitating the hiring of
Our job coaches aren’t the only ones helping the program intern achieve
their goals. Peer mentors are employees of the Project SEARCH business
partners who step up as a natural point of support for the intern as he
or she transitions into their internship. They complete the
participant’s initial training and become a point person for any extra
questions, as well as meeting with the intern and Project SEARCH staff
on a routine basis to ensure everything goes smoothly.
The positive effect of more people achieving gainful employment is
obvious, but the community benefits of Project SEARCH are not only for
the interns. A combination of funding through the Office of Vocational
Rehabilitation (OVR) and Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital covers the costs of
employee training Businesses that hire these workers once their
internships are complete gain proficient employees who work hard, like
learning, and take pride in their jobs. Businesses who hire Project
Search graduates also enjoy excellent employee retention in jobs that
typically suffer from high turnover, offering job-training savings that
boost the company’s bottom line.
For more information about Project SEARCH, contact our Program
Coordinator at 484.596.5406.
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.