UAB and Project SEARCH provide internship opportunities to high school students with disabilities

UAB is partnering with Project SEARCH to provide high school students who have developmental disabilities with internship opportunities to help guide them on career selection.

uab hsopital fHigh school students with developmental disabilities are receiving an opportunity to gain experience and employment through the University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System.

Project SEARCH is a unique business-led, one-year, school-to-work program that takes place entirely at the workplace. Students participating with UAB are given internship opportunities in environmental services, food and nutrition services, central sterile supply, materials management, and many other areas.

“Total workplace immersion facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration and relevant job-skills training through strategically designed internships,” said University Hospital Senior Associate Vice President Jordan DeMoss.

The internship program not only benefits the students, but allows UAB to train and recruit prospective employees.

“This is one small but powerful example of UAB’s commitment to serving and supporting our community,” DeMoss said. “Our investment in our community is fundamental to who we are as an organization and to the impact we can have on career development. We believe it is not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do for our community.”

DeMoss added that UAB’s ultimate goal is to offer a great experience for Project SEARCH students to help guide them on career selection. He credits UAB employees like Sherri Moultrie as a key to the partnership’s success.

“Sherri has done an outstanding job coordinating and providing support to our interns,” he said. “She’s been phenomenal, and I think recognizing that UAB has an infrastructure to support these types of programs is important.”

Project SEARCH began at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 1996. Alabama launched two Project SEARCH sites in 2012 and has expanded to numerous locations around the state. Since its inception, Project SEARCH has grown to more than 300 sites across the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland and Australia. UAB’s iteration of Project SEARCH began in August 2015, and students will rotate through three internships to explore a variety of career paths.