This school year marks the eighth year that Butler Tech’s Project SEARCH interns have been immersed in the workplace on the campus of Miami University in Oxford. Project SEARCH, a Butler Tech program since 2004, is a unique transition-to-work program for young adults with intellectual disabilities and provides a combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and worksite rotations. Through this partnership, Miami University received the 2019 Employer Partner of Inclusion Gold Award by the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD). The OOD Gold Award recognizes Miami’s commitment to the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in the workplace and being a leader of diversity and inclusion best practices.
Rosi Wood, Butler Tech Project SEARCH Instructor at the Miami University location, shared that through the years, the evolution and partnership with Miami University have grown. Mrs. Wood currently has 12 student interns participating in entry-level job training in more than ten locations across the campus including several student-dining halls, the Marcum Hotel, Goggin Ice Center and the Miami University Post Office. The interns spend the majority of their day participating in unpaid job-training experiences with fading job coach support as the year progresses.
“Working changes lives for the individuals we serve, their families, and those who get the privilege of working with them. This program adds value to our intern’s lives by aiding them in realizing the unique gifts and talents that they bring to their workplace and community,” explains Rosi Wood.
The primary focus of this program is to provide students with specific job training instruction and skill development that will prepare them for competitive entry-level employment by the end of the program. Skills range from clerical work, stocking merchandise, food prep and serving, customer service and beyond.
“The unique thing about our Project SEARCH program at Miami is that many interns go on to obtain employment at the university after completing their year with us. This means free tuition for them should they ever decide to take a class there in the future, yet another amazing opportunity,” said Michael Albrecht, Supervisor of Transition Programs.
Butler Tech Project SEARCH interns are selected through an application process from all eleven associate school districts and is supported through a collaboration with Opportunities for Ohioan with Disabilities, Easterseals Serving Greater Cincinnati, Atrium Medical Center, Miami University, and UC Health West Chester Hospital.
Pictured are Project SEARCH Interns: Maria Richter, Caleb Faulkner, Tee’shaun Muhammad, and Mackenzie Bucher.