10152027_377460355740868_6361812477523420072_nSouth Carolinians with I/DD continue to experience higher unemployment rates than South Carolinians who do not have disabilities. Despite the benefit of important federal and state transition employment initiatives, South Carolina continues to maintain some commitment to segregated work and day programs. Parents of youth with I/DD also report that the transition from high school to a career is a particularly difficult, involved, and confusing process.

Project SEARCH is a business-led school-to-work transition model with demonstrated success in developing internships for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities that lead to integrated employment that pays the prevailing wage for a given job for for students with significant intellectual and developmental disabilities in their last year of high school. The program is targeted to students whose main goal is competitive employment.

Sponsored by the SC Developmental Disabilities Council, The Arc of the Midlands has partnered with Palmetto Baptist Parkridge Hospital, District 5 of Lexington and Richland counties, and SC Vocational Rehabilitation, to bring Project SEARCH to Columbia for school year 2015-16.  Total workplace immersion facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration and hands-on training through worksite rotations. The overall goal is competitive employment. For more information, contact Melinda@arcmidlands.org.