Project SEARCH serving students


Harry Snyder - Contributing columnist



One responsibility of Great Oaks Career Campuses is to serve all with career training and education. Project SEARCH is one creative and effective way we do so.

Begun more than 20 years ago by Erin Riehle at Children’s Hospital and Susie Rutkowski at Great Oaks, Project SEARCH is a unique transition-to work program for young people with disabilities.

The program combines real-life work experience with training in professional and independent-living skills.

From that start in 1996, Project SEARCH has grown to include programs in nearly every state and in nine countries.

We’re blessed that Great Oaks students were among the first to benefit from this innovative program, and with our business partners at Children’s Hospital, 5/3 Bank, and Xavier University, Great Oaks has worked with Project SEARCH to start hundreds of area students on the path to adulthood.

Brooke is one such student. She came to Great Oaks in the CareerX program, a career exploration and employability skills program for students with special needs.

After completing the CareerX program, Brooke entered Project SEARCH Xavier University, completing three non-paid internships on Xavier’s campus. Since she graduated in 2013, Brooke has been working at Currito at Xavier as a prep cook preparing all of the stores’ salsas.

Project SEARCH exemplifies the best in education; a great idea, passionate and knowledgeable champions to move that idea forward, and strong partnerships between education and business, all working together for the benefit of young people.

If you’d like to learn more about Project SEARCH, visit https://www.projectsearch.us/ .

Harry Snyder is President/CEO of Great Oaks Career Campuses.

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Harry Snyder

Contributing columnist