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Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH

What is Project Search?

Project SEARCH Graduating Class of 2019Project Search is a nationally acclaimed program designed to transition students with intellectual and developmental disabilities into employment through internships at local businesses. East Tennessee Children’s Hospital has participated in Tennessee’s Project Search for six years. The year long program provides adults with disabilities the education and experience they need for successful employment.

Knox County Health Department meets with Project SEARCH studentsProject Search interns spend five days per week for nine months at the hospital immersed in coursework and rotating between three different job specialties. Each day, interns receive at least one hour of classroom instruction on vocational, social, and independent living skills. Consistent onsite staff ensures students learn relevant, marketable skills in a real life work setting. The Project Search is also an opportunity to build confidence and character. Once interns graduate from the program and are placed with a local employer, Project Search Knoxville continues to be a support system for them by checking on their progress.

Who Can Apply?

  • Aaron working in cafeMust be over 18 years old
  • Have a desire to work
  • Undergo a background test
  • Be eligible for funding


Funding is available for Project Search interns who are:

  • Eligible for supported employment level services from the Tennessee Department of Human Services Vocational Rehabilitation Program.
  • Eligible for community based day services from the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
  • Eligible for services from the Bureau of TennCare’s Employment and Community First CHOICES program which is administered by Amerigroup, BlueCare and United Healthcare.


  • Jason doing dishes80% placement rate
  • Social opportunities
  • Real world experience
  • Recognition