Year-Round Teen Employment

Transitioning from School to Work


Project SEARCH is a school-to-work program that provides total workplace immersion for students with developmental disabilities including autism.  Students learn essential work-based skills that will give them a competitive edge when seeking rewarding employment in jobs that match their skills, interests and abilities.


Project SEARCH is a national program model, based in Cincinnati Ohio at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. The focus of the program is to provide "real-world" work experience for students with developmental disabilities in their last year of high school. The students will spend 5 hours a day, Monday through Friday, in their designated departments, gaining intensive work experience through the use of internships.

In the first two months of the program, the interns will be working with their instructor and Life Skills employment advisors. The team will help the interns prepare their career plans, resumes and learn about the culture of their worksite by touring the facility and meeting host departments. They will also spend some time working on basic employability skills, and "soft" job skills.


Each student will participate in up to three 10-week job rotations before graduation. This program is unique because of the collaborative efforts from the school districts, supported employment agency and funding sources. Together, Life Skills and the collaborating agencies have a vision of training and placing young adults with developmental disabilities in complex and rewarding jobs.


The students are age 18-21 and are in their last year of high school eligibility, and desire to work within the community.

Students are not paid for participation in this program.


St. Charles County

Project SEARCH serves up to 12 St. Charles County residents concurrently at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital.


The agencies currently committed to this community partnership in St. Charles county include:

  • Barnes-Jewish St. Peters
  • DDRB
  • Francis Howell School District
  • Life Skills
  • Orchard Farm R-5 School District
  • St. Charles R-6 School District
  • Wentzville School District


St. Louis City

The Project SEARCH program is now off and running in the City of St. Louis! The agencies currently committed to this community partnership in St. Louis city include:

  • Developmental Disability Resources
  • Life Skills
  • St. Louis Public Schools
  • Veterans Administration Health Care System of St. Louis
  • Vocational Rehabilitation


For more details about Project SEARCH, please contact Judy Goldford at 314-567-7705, or by e-mail at