Project SEARCH Collaborates for Autism at Northwestern

Have Dreams and the Smithsonian Institution have been selected as pilot sites to launch Project SEARCH Collaborates for Autism (PSCA)! Have Dreams is partnering with Northwestern University, New York Collaborates for Autism (NYCA), Evanston Township High School, New Trier High School, Glenbrook High Schools, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Clearbrook, and the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) to offer internship opportunities for high school students with ASD during their last year of high school.

PSCA at Northwestern University is a yearlong internship program for interns with ASD in their last year of high school. It is designed for individuals whose goal is competitive employment in the workplace. Total immersion in the NU workplace facilitates the teaching and learning process as well as the acquisition of employable and marketable work skills.Each day, throughout the year, the students spend time in a classroom working on skills critical to success in the workplace, including career and life planning, social communication skills, job skills, and problem-solving. Over the course of three internships, the interns will be exposed to a variety of career options and job skills in various workplace settings. The goal of this innovative program is to successfully transition high school students with autism into meaningful employment, and foster increased independence, confidence and self-esteem.

Project SEARCH was started in 1996 at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital by the nursing director of the emergency department, Erin Riehle. Project SEARCH has grown from this one original program site at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to an internationally acclaimed business-led, school-to-work program with over 240 sites across 39 states and four countries, including the prestigious Smithsonian Institution. Have Dreams is honored to be selected as the first Project SEARCH site in Illinois!

Sara LaMontagne-Have Dreams

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