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Parents Alliance Employment Project

A Project SEARCH Success Story!

Read about Amanda Hempe, a Project SEARCH student who has succeeded through three very different internships in the Project SEARCH program.

Read Amanda's Success Story


Project SEARCH at PAEP

Project SEARCH logo

Project SEARCH is a national program started in Cincinnati, Ohio that has been in existence since 1991. To date, there are over 300 Project SEARCH sites in existence in 42 states in the U.S., England, Scotland, Ireland and Canada. Project SEARCH is a unique, business-led, one-year, work program that takes place entirely at the workplace. Project SEARCH is an international, trademarked and copyrighted program model. For more information on the National Project SEARCH program please visit their website.

PAEP currently partners with Northwestern Medicine, the business host site for two Project SEARCH locations:

Northwest Medicine logo

Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield. and

Delnor Hospital in Geneva.

Both unique programs provide individuals with disabilities the opportunity to participate in three, 10-week long internships that allow them to gain real-life vocational skills in a variety of hospital departments. At the completion of the internships, students are placed into competitive employment.

PAEP staff specializes in helping students/interns develop job skills throughout the year and supports the students/interns every day on site at the hospital and support the students/interns once the school year is completed and the students/interns are employed.

The Central DuPage Hospital Project SEARCH Program is specifically for IN-SCHOOL (ages 18-22 years) youth with disabilities. The following eligibility is required:

Each student must be aware this is their LAST year of transition

Each student needs to be eligible for services from the Division of Rehabilitation Services

Students should live in DuPage county

Students must be willing to receive their diploma at the end of the program.

WORK is the primary goal of the program. Students need to be willing to receive and accept a job at the end of the program and should be willing to play an active role in ALL job related activities

Student needs to be open to working 16 hours or more after completing the Project SEARCH program

To apply for the Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital Project SEARCH program you can go to the SASED website, click on “view” under the blue box that says “work for SASED” at the bottom of the page, find vacancies on the left and select “Project SEARCH student Intern” and APPLY.

For more information on the Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital Project SEARCH program, please contact LEAD Skills Trainer, Kiersten Lira at or 630-933-4282.

The Delnor Hospital Project SEARCH Program is specifically for OUT-OF-SCHOOL (ages 18-24 years) youth with disabilities. The following eligibility is required:

Each participant must have already graduated from and have accepted their diploma from high school

Applicants who reside in Kane, DeKalb and Kendall counties will be given priority.

Must have proof of disability either through IEP or DRS documentation

Must have a desire to work competitively at the end of the program

Would benefit from participation in a variety of skill-building internships

Who are independent with self-care and medication management

Who can self-monitor on a 1:4 ratio of support

Who have access to independent transportation to/from Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital

To apply for the Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital Project SEARCH program you can:

Visit NM Medicine

On this site you can view more information, eligibility and the application.

Complete application

Send application to Also attach additional files needed – proof of eligibility, high school diploma or equivalent, and resume

For more information on the Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital Project SEARCH program, please contact LEAD Employability Instructor, Ashley Walsh at or 630-938-2127.

What are some benefits of Project SEARCH for students?

The program provides many benefits and advantages for students, including:

Increases their confidence

Allows students the opportunity to career explore in a safe environment

Learn the core concepts when it comes to work

Students are work ready when the program comes to an end

Resume Builder

Acquire transferable skills to be applied in another capacity

Gives students the opportunity to network with managers and co-workers during their time at the program

What type of jobs/tasks and department can the interns perform?

The following is a list of departments that interns may be exposed to while in the Northwestern Medicine hosted program:

West Surgery

East Surgery

Breast Health

Diagnostic Imaging

GI Labs

Guest Services

Kitchen Stocker/Catering


Central Supply

Receiving Dock

Interventional Radiology

Java City

Part’s department

Physical Therapy

Emergency Department

Pizza Chef

Patient Floors


Dish room


What is a typical day look like for PS Participants?

The participants must be committed to attending the program for an entire year, being present at the hospital for at least 30 weeks, Monday through Friday from 7:30am-2:30pm. Each day will consist of the following schedule:

7:45am - Arrive to classroom

8:00am-8:45am - Classroom Curriculum

8:45am-9am - Walk to internship

9am-2pm - Internship

2pm-2:15pm – Return to classroom and debrief day

2:15pm - Depart Classroom

How do I get more information about the program?

Both programs host various open houses throughout the year.

Who is an appropriate candidate for PS program?

Please refer to the eligibility criteria for specific information. Project SEARCH participants must be motivated and want to work within the community.

How much does the program coast?

Project SEARCH has no cost for participants. All costs are covered by the local school district for in-school programs and PAEP secures funding from DRS, local WIOA, and other foundations to support the out of school youth PS Program.

What is considered a successful outcome is competitive employment for each Project SEARCH intern:

Employment in an integrated work setting

ear-round work (not seasonal employment)

16 hours/week or more

Minimum wage

What do the student/interns wear during the Project SEARCH day?

The students/interns will be given a uniform shirt that reflects the Project SEARCH logo along with the Northwestern Medicine logo. The students/interns also follow Northwestern Medicine uniform policy and they wear black dress pants, black shoes, and also come properly groomed. All student/interns are badged into Northwestern Medicine system and are on-boarded as typical employees. Project SEARCH student/interns are held to Northwestern Medicine employee expectations.

How many students/interns are hired through Northwestern Medicine and what happens to the ones who are not hired?

This is all based on the employment availabilities within the hospitals. Employment is not guaranteed for any intern. Students/interns that are not hired by Northwestern Medicine will look for employment within the community in which they live in with PAEP staff.

How do student/interns get to Project SEARCH?

Students/interns usually utilize public transportation in their area or also utilize Ride DuPage or Ride Kane which is secured through the assistance of PAEP staff.


Contact Us:

Parents Alliance Employment Project
2525 Cabot Drive, Suite 302
Lisle, IL 60532



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CARF logoCARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) has accredited Parents Alliance Employment Project for its Employment Services: Community Employment Services in Job Development, Job Supports, and Job Site Training Programs.

Parents Alliance works in partnership with the workNet
DuPage Career Center.

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PAEP does not provide direct services through this website; it is intended for informational purposes only.