Pictured above: The Project SEARCH Autism-Augmentation Team. From bottom left: Ilene Lainer, Executive Director (NYCA); Erin Riehle, Director, Disabilities Services (CCHMC), Founder and Director (Project SEARCH); Maryellen Daston, Consultant for Research and Communications (Project SEARCH, CCHMC). From top left: Glenna Osborne, Associate Director Supported Employment (UNC- TEACCH); Jerry Philip, Program Development Manager (NYCA), Amie Duncan, Assistant Professor (CCHMC), Jennifer McDonough, Associate Director of Training (Virginia Commonwealth University).

Project SEARCH, part of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, has joined forces with New York Collaborates for Autism (NYCA), University of North Carolina’s TEACCH Autism Program, and the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), to create an autism-specific vocational intervention. This program has been made possible through a grant from NYCA from the proceeds of Comedy Central’s 2012 Night of Too Many Stars. The goal is to improve employment outcomes for youth with autism spectrum disorders. The intervention combines autism-specific best-practice supports into a single package that can be incorporated into the Project SEARCH model of high school transition.

Project SEARCH is a highly collaborative model that was designed to improve employment prospects for young people with a broad range of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Over the past few years, several groups with a particular interest in autism, including NYCA, have initiated Project SEARCH program sites in which every student intern has autism. Currently, there are 12 autism-specific Project SEARCH program sites located in various regions of the United States. The Autism Augmentation Team envisions an intervention that can be readily replicated and used in a variety of settings to enhance employment outcomes for program participants with autism at all Project SEARCH sites nationwide. The first program to use this Autism Augmentation program will be at UNC-TEACCH in North Carolina.

To find out more about UNC-TEACCH:

To find our more about Virginia Commonwealth University:

To find out more about Project SEARCH: