Special Education -- Project Search - Bronson Healthcare

Project Search

Project SEARCH is transition program that helps young adults with disabilities obtain gainful employment. 

Project SEARCH makes sure students develop skills that transfer to the workplace. They will be immersed into the workings of Bronson Methodist Hospital. Working with the one of the area’s largest employers creates new opportunity for students. The program will focus on developing the strength areas, not deficits of the student. Project SEARCH also works promotes independence. This includes areas such as transportation, daily living skills, and more.

Project SEARCH in Kalamazoo is collaboration of organizations:

  • Bronson Methodist Hospital
  • Bureau of Services for Blind Persons
  • Disability Network of Southwest Michigan
  • Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
  • Kalamazoo RESA and its local school districts
  • Michigan Rehabilitation Services

Student Requirements

Students must meet criteria of Bronson and its partners. 

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Completed four years of high school
  • Agree that this will be the last year of student services, and will accept diploma/certificate of completion at the end of the school year
  • Meet eligibility requirements for Michigan Rehabilitation Services or Michigan Commission for the Blind
  • Meet eligibility requirements for Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (Medicaid Eligible)
  • Demonstrates personal hygiene and self-care skills that are fit for the workplace
  • Have behavior and social skills that meet the professional standards of the workplace
  • Take direction from supervisors and adjust performance
  • Be able to communicate effectively
  • Arrange and utilize public transportation or other modes of transportation.
  • Participate in travel training as needed to ensure success in using the public transportation alone
  • Ability to do physical work up to five hours per day Have previous experience in a work environment (including school, volunteer, and paid work)
  • Ability to pass drug screen and felony check Have up-to-date immunizations that are compliant with
  • Bronson’s standards Desire and plan to work in the community at the end of the Project SEARCH program

Type of Work

The work interns perform at Bronson Methodist Hospital is entry level. These tasks are part of the job description in each department. They are necessary to uphold the quality standards of Bronson. A student may be assigned to:

  • Food preparation
  • Linens Distribution
  • Equipment tech
  • Infection prevention
  • Environmental services
  • Customer services associate
  • Material tech

We are always working to expand and create new internships throughout the hospital.

Additional Questions & Answers

Will the student get paid for this experience?

A student who participates in Project SEARCH will not get paid. This is an internship experience to develop skills that will market the student. We want him/her to find a job and be competitively employed in the community.

How are the students selected for this program?

Local school districts will recommend students. Staff from each partner organization will interview applicants that were recommended. To take part in the program, the candidate must be eligible for:

  • Vocational rehabilitation services
  • Community mental health services

Please also see the requirements above.

Would a student participate during a 5th year of high school?

Project SEARCH is for students who are on the path of earning a Certificate of Completion. Students who have earned or will earn a Michigan Merit Diploma will not be able to participate in Project SEARCH.

Would a student participate in Project SEARCH before attending the Young Adult Program (YAP)?

Project SEARCH is not a part of the Young Adult Program. A student who has completed four years of high school is eligible if he/she:

  • Is in his/her last year of school
  • Meets the entrance criteria
  • Comes from a local school district or a Kalamazoo RESA program

How was Project SEARCH started?

Erin Riehle was the director of the emergency department at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. In 1996, she began Project SEARCH with one student. Now, Project SEARCH has over 400 sites across 40 states and four countries.

Are there other Project SEARCH sites?

Michigan has eight Project SEARCH sites in six counties:

  • Kalamazoo: Bronson Methodist Hospital
  • Grand Rapids: Fifth Third Bank & Spectrum Health
  • Monroe: Mercy Memorial Hospital
  • Bay-Arenac: Delta College
  • Detroit: Blue Cross/Blue Shield & Wayne Co. Government
  • Oakland: Troy Beaumont Hospital and Henry Ford Hospital

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