Project SEARCH is an intensive 9-month internship program that provides training, education and workforce development for students with disabilities. The goal is to help prepare students for competitive, integrated employment.
The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Project SEARCH program is specially designed for Central Ohio students in their last year of high school who have Autism and/or Intellectual Disability with Complex Social and Communication Needs.
- Receive services in a supportive environment to prepare for employment
- Acquire competitive, transferable and marketable job skills
- Gain increased self-awareness, confidence, and independence
In 2022, Nationwide Children’s employed 4 out of 5 Project SEARCH interns at the completion of the program!
Eligibility & Application Process
Participants must be:
- In last year of high school eligibility, having met all requirements
- Diagnosed with Autism and/or Intellectual Disability with Complex Social and Communication Needs
- Eligible for Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD)
Interested students must apply, and student interns are accepted through a selection committee process.
Applications for the 2023-2024 school year are due Feb. 17, 2023.
To learn more about Nationwide’s Project SEARCH and the application process, please contact the Educational Service Center at ProjectSEARCH@escco.org or attend one of our upcoming information sessions and tours. Information regarding upcoming sessions and tours is available in the "Upcoming Information Sessions" tab on this page.
Upcoming Information Sessions & Tours
- Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022 - 5:30 p.m.
- Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023 - 5:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022 - 10 a.m.
- Friday, Jan. 13, 2023 - 10 a.m.
Information sessions and tours take place at the Nationwide Children's Hospital Behavioral Health Pavilion. Parking is available in the Yellow Garage.
Please register in advance for information sessions and tours.
What to Expect
- Project SEARCH student interns will participate in daily group instruction and gain hands-on employment skills by rotating among three 10-week unpaid internships.
- Managers at the internship sites partner together with the Project SEARCH instructor and skills trainers to support each student intern.
- In this unique Project SEARCH program, all student interns, skills trainers, and departments will have access to an additional layer of support through Nationwide Children’s Hospital Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders (CASD).
- The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Project SEARCH program is housed within the Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion, however, internship work sites within the program vary. Previous internship locations within Nationwide Children’s include: Radiology, Urology, Clinical Therapies, Clinical Research Services, Environmental Services, Outpatient Psychiatry and Nutrition Services.
A Day In The Life of a Project SEARCH Intern
- Arrive at the Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion
- Group Instruction: Participation in lessons based on employability skills.
- Internship Site: Participate in three 10-week onsite, non-paid internships.
- Internship Site: Return to internship department to continue learning job-specific skills.
- Group Instruction: Reflect on the day and plan for the next
Frequently Asked Questions
Nationwide Children’s must comply with regulations set forth by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). Nationwide Children’s therefore requires anyone who provides care, treatment, or other services at Nationwide Children’s and/or to Nationwide Children’s patients be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
New hires must have completed the primary vaccination series, have received at least the first dose of a two-dose vaccine series, or have a pending or approved medical or religious exemption from Nationwide Children’s. New hires who have not completed their primary vaccination series will be required to complete the series within three days of becoming eligible for the second dose.
For the application:
The Nationwide Children’s Project SEARCH applications are due Feb. 17, 2023. Eight Project SEARCH interns will be selected for the 2023-2024 program.
For interviews and skills assessments:
Applicants will be contacted immediately after their application is initially reviewed for meeting the basic requirements to be considered for the program. Applicants will be given information on how to do their interview (pre-recorded). In addition, the applicants will receive a list of five tasks to demonstrate for the Skills Assessment. The applicant will choose three of the five tasks to demonstrate. Someone will video the applicant performing the task and that video will be sent to the selection committee.
When you submit the Nationwide Children’s Project SEARCH application, you will need your school district’s approval as they are part of your IEP team and this is an educational service for students with disabilities who have IEPs. The school district will need to support the student attending the Nationwide Children’s Project SEARCH program both educationally and financially. There is a fee for the program. Your school district will collaborate and assist you with the Project SEARCH application and interview process. Your transition coordinator will probably be the main person to guide you through the Project SEARCH application process.
If your student is accepted, then your school district will work with you on arranging appropriate transportation to the Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion at Nationwide Children’s.
The school district and Nationwide Children’s Project SEARCH team will collaborate with the hospital to make lunch available for your student.
About Project SEARCH
The Project SEARCH site at Nationwide Children's Hospital is jointly funded by the Educational Services Center of Central Ohio (ESCCO), local education providers, and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) and are further supported by county boards of developmental disabilities, business partners and OOD vocational rehabilitation service providers.
Project SEARCH was originally developed at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and is the administrative headquarters for the organization. Learn more about them at www.projectsearch.us.