Project SEARCH is a unique, business-led, transition to work program with the primary objective to secure competitive, integrated, employment for people with disabilities. As the title indicates, this webcast will present a national and Tennessee overview of Project SEARCH, along with ideas for beginning a new program. Participants will also hear from the Instructor at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital Project SEARCH, along with one of their Skills Trainers, as they discuss a day in the life of a Project SEARCH intern and share inspiring employment outcomes.
Blake Shearer is the VR Transition Director with the Tennessee Department of Human Services who has a passion for helping to improve the postsecondary outcomes of students with disabilities through collaborative efforts. He served in various roles within the education system for 15 years, from paraprofessional, to classroom teacher, district-wide supervisor, and state Department of Education director for transition services prior to joining VR in 2019 He, along with a statewide team of over 25, help to oversee Pre-Employment Transition Services, Transition School to Work grants, and Tennessee’s 17 Project SEACH programs.
Brandon Pflug is the Instructor with the Project SEARCH program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. In this role, he provides real-world employment training for individuals with disabilities by offering Internships in VUMC departments and clinics. Brandon also facilitates the transition to official employment following these individuals’ training period. In his first 2 years, the program has achieved 94% employment, and has grown substantially!
Rashad Ward is a Skills Trainer with Project SEARCH at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. In 2019, Rashad participated in a Project SEARCH program as an Intern before being hired by Project SEARCH at VUMC as a Skills Trainer. Who better to learn from, than someone who has already completed the program? Rashad has a wealth of knowledge to share, and strives to help his students achieve their goals!