Project Search – Job Training for Individuals with Disabilities

The Regional Center of Orange County, will be partnering with Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Integrated Resources, Coastline Community College, University of California Irvine and Grandparent Autism Network to help young adults with disabilities learn skills for employment. The new Project Search program will offer workforce development including volunteer work, work experience, internships, and health care training at CHOC’s location.

Interns build communication and problem-solving skills as well as job specific skills through work rotations. Worksites are assigned on the interns interests and previous work experiences and assessments. Job coaches are assigned to each participant and fade out as intern gains independence. These interns are working to fulfill their goals of achieving competitive employment. Worksite positions/activities could include assembly, clerical, courier, sterilization, stocking, and environmental services.

Nationally, the unemployment rate for adults with disabilities is approximately 64-95%, depending on the disability. Surveys around the country verify that the majority of these individuals want to work. Total workplace immersion facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and on-the-job training and support is a proven model. One of our goals for our clients is competitive employment somewhere in the community using the skills they have acquired in work training. A second goal for adults with disabilities is to continue preparing for careers through post-secondary education at community colleges, universities, regional occupational programs and/or adult education programs.

Linda ONeal, former Irvine Unified School District (IUSD), Career Link Director, will serve as the project consultant through RCOC.