Project SEARCH

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About this Program

Project SEARCH is a nine month school-to-work program for students with disabilities on the The Evergreen State College campus. Started in 2009, it is a collaborative effort between Morningside, The Evergreen State College, and Olympia School District, and is funded in part by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

The goal for each student is competitive employment at a business in the community. Students use the transferable skills they acquire at Evergreen, which includes a combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, on-the-job training, and internship experiences. During the year, students and staff work to remove any potential barriers to employment. Students build communication skills; learn how to ask questions when meeting potential employers, as well as give presentations in the community. They develop problem solving skills as students learn to identify and overcome issues that impact their ability to be independent. They learn and practice these skills through internships where they work four hour shifts Monday through Thursday. Project SEARCH provides young adults with disabilities resources to make a successful transition from school to a productive adult life. 

Students complete three internships throughout the program, testing their skills, interests, and abilities in new ways. ‍Internship sites vary greatly across The Evergreen State College campus and have been developed at approximately 25 different work areas. Students may have the ability to work in the daycare center, residential housing, dining, facilities maintenance, grounds and motor pool, recreation center, key shop, bookstore, and various office settings. At these locations they can learn skills from customer service to custodial to cashiering. 

Project SEARCH students interview for their internships and submit a two week resignation letter at the end of their internship - just like they would in a more formal job setting. They receive formal feedback from supervisors in person at least twice during the 10-week internship and often receive a positive reference at the end of the placement. 

During their work, students have access to a Job Coach who assists with everything from filling out an application to learning a task, or building a working relationship with co-workers. Over the course of the year, students gain independence and staff support from Project SEARCH gradually reduces. 

Project SEARCH has created positive outcomes for participants; every student who has chosen to look for work has found it - with some help along the way. 

If you are interested in learning more, tours are provided frequently during the months of February and May. 

There are plenty of opportunities for the community to be involved, from giving a tour at your place of employment, providing information on resources or techniques that may enhance the program, or simply giving students an opportunity to share information on what they have been learning over the course of the year.

Services offered in this program:

Learn more about the services offered in this program. Click on a service below to learn more.

Supported Employment

In some settings a potential employee may need additional support to be successful on the job. This support may be in the form of a job coach who works with persons who experience disabilities by providing on-site job training assistance and long term support to the employer and employee. The job coach will help the employee learn good work habits and job skills Morningside often contracts with DVR to provide supported employment services and long term support. During this process, businesses gain reliable, dependable and hardworking employees with a better than average chance of success.

Job Placement

Our Business Developers start off with a meet and greet. This meeting takes around 45 minutes and it’s a chance for the client and developer to really get to know each other. Job takeaways are environment, location, size of business, sounds, etc. We talk about transportation, clothing for interviews, tasks that they would like to do and tasks they will not do. We try to know as much as we can so when in the community we are targeting the right businesses. When we feel a business meets most if not all the desired points we will take the client on a tour of the business, make introductions and if all goes well an interview. It’s very important that we make a good match for client and business. 


Paid Internships are available to students that are enrolled in Morningside’s Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS). Paid Internships are set up and scheduled by Morningside. A paid Internship is a minimum of 40 hours within a 12 month period; up to 120 hours per year. A student aged 16 or older is placed into a work setting in the community and is paid at least minimum wage.

Morningside’s Pre-ETS Facilitator sets up the internship and supports a student to learn the dress code, expectations, and schedule.

Pre-ETS Eligibility:

  • Students who are enrolled in a secondary, postsecondary, or other recognized education program.
  • Students who are between the ages of 16 through 21 
  • Students who have an IEP, a 504 plan, or a documented disability. 

Please Note: Unpaid internships are an option for students if preferred for any reason.

Program Staff

Bobbie Jo Sweet
Regional Manager

Locations offering this Program:

Click a participating location below to view a full list of program offerings and to learn more. Please contact your preferred location to speak with staff to determine if our program is right for you.

Thurston/Mason Counties

809 Legion Way SE Olympia, WA 98501


(360) 943-0512

“Everyone deserves a chance. Everyone can do something. An employer can match a job that their business needs to fit the strength of the person with a disability.”

- Erica Nation, Pita Pit

“Looking past the disability and seeing the person that they really are is the biggest thing.”

- Thomas Black, Warehouse Demo Services

“Felix is awesome. He is a huge help to us. He does everything that is asked of him and he is a good guy.”

Hany Mosad, Manager of the Federal Way Jack in the Box