Project SEARCH Preparing People with Disabilities for Work

HARRISBURG, Pa. (January 25, 2019) – Five individuals with disabilities were honored today for graduating from the Project SEARCH Dauphin County program that combines classroom training and onsite work experience over a nine-month period. At the conclusion of the program, the goal is to place participants in competitive, integrated employment.

Project SEARCH Dauphin County is a collaboration between Goodwill Keystone Area, Dauphin County Government and the state Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR). Participants spend part of the day in a classroom setting where they learn necessary skills to succeed in a job. The other part of the day is spent onsite at a Dauphin County government department where they are guided by job coaches to help them gain real-world experience.

“Project SEARCH has been a wonderful success thanks to the partnership we have with Dauphin County and OVR,” said Tracye Johnson, Goodwill’s Project SEARCH Program Manager. “This is our fourth group of graduates since we began Project SEARCH Dauphin County, and most of the individuals who have gone through the program are employed and earning a regular paycheck. In fact, two of our most recent graduates have already found employment and two others start new jobs at the end of the month.”

“It’s important that people with disabilities have the same opportunities available to everyone,’’ said Dauphin County Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III, who oversees the county’s Human Services. “Programs like Project SEARCH give those with intellectual disabilities a chance to do many of the things the rest of us take for granted.’’

As part of the classroom training, topics that are covered include team building, workplace safety, self-advocacy, financial literacy, health and wellness, and preparing for and maintaining employment. Participants also complete at least two 10-week work rotations in various Dauphin County departments such as Clerk of Courts, Children and Youth, Facilities Maintenance, and Parks and Recreation, just to name a few.

Hear from a parent of one of the graduates about the impact Project SEARCH has had on her family: ABC27 News & CBS21

Project SEARCH is an internationally trademarked and copyrighted program originally developed at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to help people with disabilities transition from school to work. Goodwill Keystone Area also administers Project SEARCH programs in Berks, Cumberland and Lehigh counties.

About Goodwill Keystone Area

Goodwill Keystone Area serves 22 counties in central and southeastern Pennsylvania. Proceeds from Goodwill stores fund job training and employment programs to help people with disabilities and other barriers to independence earn a paycheck and reach their fullest potential as workers and members of the broader community. To learn more, visit