Project SEARCH and West-MEC

Project SEARCH and West-MEC help provide  valuable, employable skills to people with disabilities.

The young adults who participate in Western Maricopa Education Center’s partnership with Project SEARCH, a program empowering adults with disabilities to learn valuable marketable skills in the workplace, leave with the ability to find competitive work opportunities upon completion.

The Project SEARCH Transition Program is a unique, business-led, one-year school-to-work program that takes place entirely at the workplace. Total workplace immersion facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration and hands-on training through worksite rotations. West-MEC is proud to partner with Project SEARCH and offer these services to our community.

The partnership between Project SEARCH and West-MEC allows the interns to immerse themselves in the workplace at one of two businesses around the West Valley: Luke Air Force Base or the hospitality program at the Renaissance Glendale Hotel and Spa.

“The goal is for them to gain valuable, employable skills, and then they can go to work in whatever they want to do. You look at everybody as an individual. Oftentimes people with disabilities don’t get that benefit, so we try to find their strengths and passions and use the skills to help them pursue that,” said Project SEARCH coordinator Julia Anderson.

Each intern spends the 1,080 hours of work time in a year rotating through different stations and work responsibilities, thus learning a variety of skills they can potentially use to either obtain a job in their current environment, or whatever else they want to do.

Job coach Lyntasha Barrett’s daughter participated in Project SEARCH. She said the program is valuable in many ways.

“It’s rewarding to see the growth of the interns from when they come to the end. There is just so much confidence you see when they learn the skills, and that is always encouraging,” she said.

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