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Project SEARCH® Arkansas: ACCESS Initiative

Project SEARCH Arkansas: ACCESS Initiative in partnership with Arkansas Rehabilitation Services is an innovative job-training program providing a nine-month internship program for young adults with developmental disabilities. Interns in the program complete (3) ten-week rotations at a partnering business with the goal of gaining the necessary skills to obtain competitive employment. Upon completion of the program, the Project SEARCH team provides assistance with finding competitive, integrated employment within the community and continued support during employment.

Who We Serve:

  • Young adults with disabilities
  • Ages 18-35
  • Reside in Arkansas
  • In the process of completing or have already completed a high school education

Meet Our Team

Meet the Project SEARCH Arkansas: ACCESS Initiative team.

Meet Our Team

Innovative Vocational Training

With a goal of sustainable, competitive employment, Project SEARCH Arkansas: ACCESS Initiative in partnership with Arkansas Rehabilitation Services assists each intern with the development of positive work etiquette, business-specific vocabulary, job discovery, self-awareness, increased confidence, and life skills - all within diverse work environments. Our program offers a variety of innovative teaching methods and resources to prepare interns for the workplace, including:

  • Employment Preparation

    Daily experiences take place in a variety of employment settings, including local industries such as: retail, food services, distribution, environmental services, and childcare.

  • Engaging Internships

    Through three internship rotations, individuals participate in on-the-job training with daily support from the intern's business department, together with ACCESS skills trainers.

  • Internationally-Recognized Curriculum

    Project SEARCH offers a unique curriculum tailored to teaching young adults with disabilities the skills needed to find success in the workplace. Throughout the program year, interns work on employability and functional skills for approximately one hour of their day with a focus on: Team Building, Workplace Safety, Technology, Maintaining Employment, Self-Advocacy, Financial Literacy, Health and Wellness, and Preparing for Employment.

  • Job Placement Assistance

    Following the intensive training program, the ACCESS team assists each inividual with identifying competitive, integrated employment opportunities and preparing for interviews.

  • Ongoing Support

    Once employed, the ACCESS team assists with a graduate's transition to the workplace and will continue to support local employment through follow-along services and supportive employment.

More About Project SEARCH

Want to learn more about Project SEARCH Arkansas: ACCESS Initiative or interested in applying for the next program year? Visit our Project SEARCH website today.

Learn More

Our Partners

  • Project SEARCH was developed and is based at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, a research environment that fosters visionary thinking and innovation. There, the administrative team oversees a large international network of Project SEARCH program sites, maintaining an active, ongoing program of technical assistance, program evaluation, program development, and continuous improvement.

    Since its inception in 1996, Project SEARCH has grown from a single program site at Cincinnati Children’s to a large and continuously expanding international network of sites. Project SEARCH’s primary objective is to secure competitive employment for people with disabilities.

  • A division of the Department of Career Education, Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS) has been charged with providing opportunities for Arkansans with disabilities to lead productive and independent lives. This mission statement is the foundation for the programs and comprehensive services that ARS provides to individuals with disabilities to enable them to prepare for and enter the workforce.

  • In partnership with Arkansas Rehabilitation Services and local businesses, ACCESS currently hosts multiple Project SEARCH sites across Arkansas:

    1. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Project SEARCH (Little Rock)
    2. Arkansas Children’s Hospital Project SEARCH (Little Rock)
    3. CHI St. Vincent Project SEARCH (Hot Springs)
    4. Ouachita County Medical Center Project SEARCH (Camden)
    5. St. Bernards Project SEARCH (Jonesboro)
    6. Mercy Fort Smith Project SEARCH (Fort Smith)
    7. University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Project SEARCH (Pine Bluff)

Potential Unlocked: Project SEARCH Testimonials

  • My daughter's quest for job skills has led far beyond her intitial goal of employment. Katie has discovered the confidence to achieve the independence she deserves. As a parent with a child that learns differently than others, Project SEARCH was the perfect fit for Katie.

    -Betty Caughron, Project SEARCH Parent
  • Project SEARCH has helped me become a more independent adult. Despite my disability, I can financially support myself. Project SEARCH has truly changed my life and taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to.

    -Brian Purifoy, Project SEARCH Graduate
  • Winston Churchilll once said, 'Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference,' and I feel you see this in the Project SEARCH interns and graduates. Their positive attitudes, pay-it-forward mindset, and overall WANT to work sets them apart from so many. Project SEARCH interns and graduates find the opportunity within their difficulties. They make a difference not only in their jobs but in their communities.

    -Phillip Merry, Fort Smith, Arkansas Community Leader
  • I have had the honor of hiring several graduates from Project SEARCH. As a business partner, I appreciate the work ethic instilled by the program. It is a pleasure to hire someone who comes to us not only with the hard skills we need, but the soft skills we desire.

    -Doreen Mattes, PHR, Director of Human Resources, City of Maumelle