Project SEARCH is coming to Atlantic Health System’s Hackettstown Medical Center

Project SEARCH Atlantic Health Hackettstown Medical Center Logo

Will create more employment opportunities for individuals with development disabilities

Project SEARCH, the school-to-work transition program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is expanding to include Atlantic Health System’s Hackettstown Medical Center, beginning in September.

Select students will be able to participate in a one-year, tuition-based internship program that includes daily classroom instruction focused on employability skills and internship rotations at the medical center. The internships are available to Sussex, Warren, Morris, and Hunterdon County high school students with intellectual or development disabilities who have satisfied the credit requirements for graduation, certification, or completion.

Participants must be able to get to and from Hackettstown Medical Center independently. Applications are available online at

“This creates more opportunities for high school seniors and recent graduates to explore careers and develop transferable job skills in a professional environment. Working with Atlantic Health System’s Newton Medical Center, we’ve already been able to help more than 30 participants achieve employment.”

John O’Hara, Supervisor of Project SEARCH for the Sussex County Educational Services Commission
2023 Project SEARCH interns & staff at Newton Medical Center

Developed at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 1996, Project SEARCH is available at more than 500 locations nationwide. Locally, Project SEARCH is a collaboration between Atlantic Health System, the NJ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Sussex County Educational Services Commission, the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities, and Abilities of Northwest Jersey Inc.

“Participants will be at the hospital every day for six hours. They’ll receive constant, on-site training from hospital staff, a special education teacher, and job coaches. Each participant will be given support with accommodations and adaptations according to their individual needs.”

Norm Harnois, Employment Specialist for Abilities

The Project SEARCH model involves an extensive period of training and career exploration, innovative adaptations, long-term job coaching, and continuous feedback from teachers, job coaches, and employers. At the completion of the training program, students with significant intellectual disabilities are often employed in nontraditional, complex, and rewarding jobs.

“Thanks to the seamless collaboration of these organizations, we’ve had tremendous success helping participants gain marketable employment skills and earn community jobs through the program at Newton Media Center. Even more important is that they are able to gain increased independence, confidence, and self-esteem.”

Bob Adams, President, Hackettstown and Newton Medical Centers

For more information about Project SEARCH, contact John O’Hara at [email protected] or call 973-579-6980.

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