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History of Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH was developed at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 1996, when Erin Riehle, Director of the Emergency Department wondered if it would be possible to train people with developmental disabilities to fill some of the high-turnover, entry level positions in her department. As a starting point, Erin presented her ideas to Susie Rutkowski, then the special education director at Great Oaks Career Campuses. Together Erin and Susie launched Project SEARCH.

Since its inception, Project SEARCH has grown from a single program site at Cincinnati Children’s to over 400 sites across the United States and Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, and Australia. Project SEARCH’s primary objective is to secure competitive employment for people with disabilities.