• Features
  • About
  • Careers
  • Newsletter
Features Project SEARCH emphasizes ability, not disability

Project SEARCH emphasizes ability, not disability


Some feel that persons with disabilities are the largest minority in the state and remain an untapped population for employment.

To fix this issue, the Institute for Disability Studies (IDS) has partnered with the National Project SEARCH Transition Program to institute Project SEARCH at The University of Southern Mississippi. The Project SEARCH Internship helps students with disabilities train for jobs in the real world.

USM Community Education Director Jerry Alliston said he believes students with disabilities have much to offer the workforce but are rarely given the opportunity.

“A lot of people tend to focus on the disability and not the ability,” Alliston said. “What we focus on is just the ability.”

According to one of Project SEARCH’s newsletters, the purpose of Project SEARCH is “to increase the number of young adults with intellectual, cognitive and other developmental disabilities to obtain competitive, community-based employment.”

The year-long training intensive program consists of “daily employment preparatory skills training, community development, mentoring services and work internships,” according to Project SEARCH.

The program teaches students employable skills, such as team building, interviewing and social skills. Alliston said the program helps students gain confidence. Interns average about three internships per year at on-campus job locations, like the Payne Center and the cafeteria.

In addition, the Project SEARCH interns work hard to use their abilities and talents to create their own business and become self- advocates. Alliston said the interns enrich the work environment.

“So the program impacts [interns] individually, but it impacts the greater community,” Alliston said. “It shows employers, ‘Hey, these young people have great skills, they can meet needs – have you considered hiring a person with a disability?’ What Project SEARCH brings – which I really like – is how USM’s a host site, and we’re a community getting them connected to the real world.

Students have been able to find jobs after graduating from Project SEARCH. Jason Dean is the first graduate of the program, completing two-and-a-half internships before being offered an employment opportunity off campus. Dean currently works at Wendy’s.

Project SEARCH Internship is a grant-funded program in the Institute for Disabilities Studies, located on the fourth floor of Bond Hall.

For additional information on Project SEARCH and Institute of Disabilities Studies, visit usm.edu/disabilitystudies.


Latest news

Southern Miss Baseball earns chance to host regional tournament

Last week, Southern Miss made the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee’s list of 20 potential sites to...

Robert Brent fondly remembered by students and staff

Robert Brent, a junior at the University at Southern Mississippi, unexpectedly passed away at the beginning of...

University extends condolences to families, community members after plane crash

During the overnight hours last night, The University of Southern Mississippi was notified of a tragic plane...

Saweetie and Little Mix celebrate their independence with “Confetti”

Sometimes, a breakup is more of a celebration than a sad event. Pop group Little Mix returned...

Southern Miss NFL Draft prospects look to continue careers as free agents

Though Southern Miss's two NFL Draft prospects were not selected in this year’s draft, wide receiver Tim...

H.E.R. continues to grow artistically with “Come Through”

Over the past several years, we have watched R&B singer H.E.R. grow more comfortable artistically, peeling off...

Must read

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you