Nebraska VR & Project SEARCH
Nebraska VR works with schools and other organizations across the state to help students plan for the future and prepare for careers that match their skills, abilities, and interests.
To meet the employment needs of students with disabilities, Nebraska VR provides pre-employment transition services which include:
- Job Exploration Counseling
- Workplace Readiness Training
- Work-Based Learning Experiences
- Counseling on Comprehensive Transition or Post-Secondary Educational Programs
- Instruction in Self-Advocacy
In Nebraska every high school has an assigned Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselor who can help students who have an identified disability to gain skills, find a job and start a career. They work with school staff to assess interests and strengths, explore careers and post-secondary training options, among many other individualized services.
Project SEARCH is a partnership between Nebraska VR, a business, area school systems, the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Assistive Technology Partnership, and Division of Developmental Disabilities. This one-year school-to-work program is business-led and takes place entirely in the workplace. The experience includes a combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and hands-on training through worksite rotations.
Helping Students Develop Competitive Employment Skills
Project SEARCH is a high school transition program that provides training and education intended to lead to employment for individuals with disabilities. Students who have completed their academic requirements may apply if they are in their last year of high school. Each interested student is required to make a formal application to the program and to interview with a selection committee. Students are selected through a rating process by a committee consisting of representatives of a school, Nebraska VR, and the Project SEARCH host business. All students must be eligible for services with Nebraska VR.
Seriously Unique High School Transition Program
The program provides real-life work experience to help youth with significant disabilities make successful transitions from school to adult life. Each student participates in three 10-week internships during the school year. In each rotation the student learns job-specific skills while having the opportunity to put career readiness skills into practice. Monthly progress meetings are held to help students define their career goal and to plan necessary steps to achieve that goal.
Project SEARCH is an international trademarked and copyrighted program model, which focuses solely on employment for Project SEARCH interns.
The cornerstone of Project SEARCH is total workplace immersion in a large business. For five days a week students report to the host business, learn career readiness skills in the classroom, and job skills while participating in a variety of work experiences. Managers at the internship sites work with the Project SEARCH staff to support the students during the day. Students get continuous feedback from the internship manager, co-workers, and Project SEARCH staff. A certified special education teacher and job coaches work with both the students and the business staff. Students end their day by reflecting, problem solving, planning, and journaling key learning points. The goal upon program completion and graduation is to utilize skills acquired during the internship for gainful employment.