Project SEARCH

Müller, E., & VanGilder, R. (2014). The relationship between participation in Project SEARCH and job readiness and employment for young adults with disabilities. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 40(1), 15–26.

Background: Although there are currently more than 200 Project SEARCH programs throughout the U.S., evidence supporting the program's efficacy remains limited. OBJECTIVE: This pilot study examines the relationship between participation in Project SEARCH, a business-led transition program, and job readiness and employment rates of 10 young adults with disabilities. Methods: Baseline and end-of-year data were gathered on participants' job readiness skills using a 29-item Job Readiness Assessment Tool (JRAT) developed for this purpose. Interviews with key stakeholders were conducted in order to identify perceptions regarding areas of growth for participants, as well as ongoing challenges. RESULTS: Based on JRAT scores, participants demonstrated significant growth overall, as well as demonstrating significant growth in a majority of specific entry-level job skills and workplace behaviors. Sixty percent of participants were offered permanent jobs within three months of the program's conclusion. No significant differences emerged between job coach/instructor evaluations and supervisor evaluations. End-of-year JRAT scores were significantly higher for participants offered jobs than for those not offered jobs. Conclusions: The Project SEARCH model holds promise for increasing participants' job readiness and employment rates. Further, the JRAT may offer a useful means of predicting job readiness for Project SEARCH participants.

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