Drexel University

Project SEARCH: internships for students with disabilities

Posted on May 8, 2017

Project SEARCH is a one-year internship program for students with developmental disabilities who seek sustainable, competitive employment. The program involves classroom instruction, career exploration, and relevant job-skills training with the ultimate goal of successfully transitioning students into the workforce. This program forms partnerships between the business community and several locally based agencies: Community Integrated Services, A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, The School District of Philadelphia, The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, and Intellectual Disability Services.


There are several benefits businesses experience when participating in the program, including:

  • Working with highly motivated students from diverse backgrounds
  • Staffing resources designed to meet business needs
  • On-site job supports at no cost
  • Financial incentives for the employer (Wage Subsidy & Tax Credits)

Small business owner, Ben Levine of Ninja Goat, found his operations growing and needed to bring on an additional employee, that’s when he was recommended to Community Integrated Services.

“Ninja Goat began looking for someone who could help us deal with the significant amount of data that we generate in our business. Although we make and sell a food product, our business is conducted almost entirely digitally – we sell directly to customers through our own website and Amazon.com.

Community Integrated Services helped us meet and interview Ellis, who became our first permanent employee. Having Ellis on our team has been an extraordinary experience; he is diligent, focused, and prolific. Once he gets the hang of a specific task – be it integrating sales data from multiple sources, finding people online who are talking about products like ours and doing outreach, or finding and contacting every coffee shop in America about carrying our product – he steadily works through the task at a very impressive pace.

Kyle, his job coach, has also been invaluable in helping Ellis and myself understand and structure his work effectively.”

If you are interested in learning more about Project SEARCH or would like to get involved, please contact projectsearch@drexel.edu.

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