Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH is an international, award winning one-year school to work transition program for students with intellectual disabilities. TVDSB is proud to partner with Hutton House and St. Joseph’s Health Care London to provide this program for secondary students. The goal of the program is to gain the skills to pursue year-round employment, of 20 hours per week or more, at a competitive wage in a work setting that is inclusive of interest to the student. St. Joseph’s Health Care London has organized three dynamic 10-week internships for the students interns at Parkwood Institute in a variety of departments. The student interns involved in Project SEARCH glean real life experiences through this experience.

project search student in front of welcome sign


This program is for students entering their final year of secondary school who have a personal goal of competitive employment in the community. The classroom is onsite at St. Joseph’s Health Care London’s Parkwood Institute where a majority of the three 10- week internships take place. The classroom team includes a TVDSB teacher, EA and Skills trainer. Continual feedback is provided to the interns by the teacher and skills trainers, while site supervisors and managers provide natural supports in the internships. Detailed goal setting and employment goals are determined at the frequent Employment Planning Meetings. The Hutton House Skills Trainer also provides follow through employment support for Project SEARCH graduates.

project search student working
welcome to project search sign with program participants in a classroom
project search student working in hospital

  Our Partnerships

Project Search logo

Hutton House Logo

St Joseph Health Care London logo

thames valley district school board logo

Typical Year Plan 

Project SEARCH follows the secondary school schedule. Here is the calendar for the St. Joseph’s Health Care London’s Parkwood site.

Internship Rotations
The goal of the three worksite internships is to systematically teach and reinforce competitive, marketable, and transferable skills. The intern applies employability skills during internships as they become part of the workplace culture and learn how to be a successful employee. Daily, interns reflect upon both strengths and next steps to continually develop short-term goals to improve upon employability skills allowing for layers of new skills to be built throughout each internship
Employment Planning Meetings
The purpose of the Employment Planning Meetings is to keep team members updated on the intern’s progress and to identify ways to support the intern to help reach the goal of competitive employment. The meetings are completed two times each rotation and involve anyone actively involved in helping the intern find employment including the instructor, skills trainer, business liaison, and family members. Throughout the six meetings the student interns are coached to develop the skills to lead their own meetings.

Why hire a talented Project SEARCH Graduate?

There are many benefits:

  • Access to pre-screened applicants
  • Reduces time and cost to hire staff
  • Lower staff turnover
  • On-site support and training as needed to ensure your new employee is effective
  • Enhanced public relations as an equal opportunity employer

welcome to project search sign with program participants in a classroom


The Project SEARCH students are immersed at the host business, St Joseph's Health Care London, and get more than 700 hours of hands-on work experience geared to in-demand roles in the local labor market.

Business Advisory Committee

To introduce the student interns to businesses in the community and develop employment connections, a Business Advisory Committee is being created. This committee will also provide feedback to the program about the essential employability skills required in the current job market.

Please contact Sandy Jansen,  Vice-President, Patient Care & Risk Management if your organization is interested in joining this advisory committee. 




Janell Hurlbut -

Melissa Somerton -



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