Children's Hospital Colorado

Project SEARCH: An Employment Training Program for Students with Significant Disabilities

A person wearing a light green shirt smiles as they sort paperwork in a workroom at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Project SEARCH is an innovative school-to-work transition program for high school students with significant disabilities hosted at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Throughout the year-long program, participants are fully immersed in their role in our hospital system and experience on-the-job training, skills development and job coaching. Our interns work in a variety of departments, including food services, inpatient units, data center and information technology, central distribution, and more.  

Children’s Colorado welcomed our first class of Project SEARCH students in 2009, adopting the national Project SEARCH model created in 1996 by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Cincinnati Ohio. Our program has been recognized nationally as the recipient of several Employment Outcome Awards, including multiple achievements of the prestigious 100% Employment Award.

Since the program launched:

  • 44% of employed graduates are hired at Children’s Hospital Colorado
  • 83% of graduates found employment following Project SEARCH within 6 months of graduation

Project SEARCH is dedicated to workforce development that benefits the individual, community and workplace, and helps each participant learn skills to support them in achieving their goal of challenging, long-term employment.

Program eligibility

To be eligible for Project SEARCH, students must meet the following criteria:  

  • Be at least 18 years old  
  • Currently enrolled in a local high school special education program or transition program  
  • Nearing their last year(s) of school services  
  • Completed graduation requirements but deferred diploma  
  • Have a strong desire to work  
  • Are comfortable working in a healthcare setting  
  • Qualify for services through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and their local Community Centered Board (CCB)  
  • Willing to travel to and from the program independently (public transportation, Access-a-Ride, carpooling, etc.) 

How to apply

Project SEARCH applications are accepted every year from December through early February. Applications are for both Children’s Hospital Colorado and UCHealth. The application form for our 2025 class will be posted on December 2, 2024.

Check out our fact sheet to learn more about the program.

Contact us

For questions about Project SEARCH, please email us at