Project SEARCH

“On-the-job vocational training program and job placement program offered through the joint efforts of Oakland Adult and Career Education Adults with Disabilities Program, College of Alameda and East Bay Innovations.”


County of Alameda Project SEARCH
Program runs February through January each year. Applications for each program should be submitted at least six months prior to the start date of the program.

Oakland Children’s Hospital Project SEARCH
Program runs August through July each year. Applications for each program should be submitted at least six months prior to the start date of the program.


Program Overview: Project SEARCH Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland and the County of Alameda, are part of an innovative collaboration with EBI and the Oakland Unified School District that introduces adults with autism and other developmental disabilities to careers in healthcare. Twelve interns are accepted annually for this yearlong, Monday through Friday, vocational training and internship programs.

Goals: Our goals are to expose each intern to a range of jobs in healthcare, public sector and other settings that offer training of meaningful transferrable work skills, to ensure that every participant gains experience that will build their résumé; to make it possible for graduates to seamlessly move into a job development phase; and, to see each Project SEARCH graduate secure gainful employment. EBI’s support doesn’t end there. Once an individual is placed in a job, we provide on-the-job support and training for as long as needed.

Worksite Rotations: Interns build both academic and vocational skills through “hands-on” work experience in various departments throughout the host business. These unpaid student internships involve complex but routine tasks, such as, assembly, clerical, data entry, insurance verification, document filing, courier, sterilization, stocking and environmental services. Project SEARCH graduates will have opportunities to rotate through three departments during their training.

Typical Day for Project Search Interns: Project Search interns attend the internship program five days per week, Monday through Friday, typically from 9:00 a.m. until 3:15 p.m. with a 45-minute lunch.

Employment Outcomes: There have been 57 placements of East Bay Innovations’ Project SEARCH graduates. Children’s Hospital Oakland has experienced a 90% placement rate for their first graduating class; the County of Alameda has experienced a 90% placement rate for their first graduating class. 2012 County of Alameda and Children’s Hospital Oakland’s graduates have already achieved a 75% placement rate. Nine graduates have been hired by Children’s Hospital Oakland and six graduates plus one referral from EBI have been hired by the County of Alameda. Both the County of Alameda and the Children’s Hospital Project SEARCH sites have won two awards each from the International Project SEARCH for reaching outstanding placement outcomes.

Project SEARCH has been instrumental in dramatically raising the bar for employment of individuals with developmental disabilities Nationwide data show an unemployment rate of 92% for individuals with disabilities, with more than half of the 8% of individuals with disabilities who are employed, earning less than minimum wage. Graduates of Project SEARCH are earning, on average, 80% above the Federal minimum wage and 65% of them receive health benefits through their employers. Current average is $14.18 with a range of $8.40 to $25.41.

Project SEARCH Graduates have gone on to work for the following employers: Alameda County Public Defender’s Office, Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, Department of Public Health, Primus Power, Tiburcio Vasquez Medical Services, Ed Robert’s Campus, Alameda Alliance, Eden Medical Center, East Bay Innovations, Lowe’s, Nob Hill Foods, Child Unique Montessori, World Institute on Disability, Alameda County Law Library, La Clinica de la Raza, Macy’s, Safeway, and an exciting new collaboration between the Alameda County Public Health Department, East Bay Innovations and the Oakland Unified School District resulting in three graduates as Health Clerks.


County of Alameda Project SEARCH is a collaborative program with the Oakland Unified School. Interns who are accepted to this site will also be enrolled in the Oakland Adult & Career Education Program. Classroom activities at the County of Alameda will be taught by a teacher from OACE. Department of Rehabilitation provides funding for the OUSD teacher and Job Coaching through East Bay Innovations is funded by RCEB. 12 interns will be accepted for this site. Job skills training will include data entry, alphanumerical filing, filing of employee documents, scanning, and other administrative office skills.

Children’s Hospital Project SEARCH is a collaborative program with the Oakland Unified School. Interns who are accepted to this site will also be enrolled in the Oakland Adult & Career Education Program. Classroom activities at the County of Alameda will be taught by a teacher from OACE. Department of Rehabilitation provides funding for the OUSD teacher and Job Coaching through East Bay Innovations is funded by RCEB. 12 interns will be accepted for this site. Job skills training will include data entry, alphanumerical filing, filing of employee documents, scanning, and other administrative office skills along with sterilization and stocking.

Eligibility: Applicants must be at least 22 years of age by the specific program start date or graduated with a high school diploma, have an active case with the Regional Center of the East Bay, must be able to utilize public transportation and be able to meet the health, background and code of conduct criteria required by business site. Most importantly, applicants must have a commitment to work and demonstrate the ability to learn the tasks offered by the site with the available support of 1:4 ratio,  and maintain excellent attendance and professionalism. Applicants will be reviewed and eligible applicants will be called to arrange interviews.