Impact Stories — Project SEARCH

Throughout June we will celebrate the graduating class of 2020.
This second blog in the series highlights three students who participated in the District of Columbia public schools’ Project SEARCH program.

Congratulations graduates! A spotlight on DC’s Project SEARCH participants

Project SEARCH logo

By Sah Brown, Principal, Eastern High School; and Aimeé Cepeda, Ed.D., Principal, River Terrace Education Campus, DC Public Schools

Project SEARCH is a one-year “school-to-work” transition program designed to prepare DCPS adult students with intellectual and other developmental disabilities for competitive employment. Project SEARCH interns receive daily instruction in employability skills and gain hands-on work experiences by rotating among three 10-week unique paid internships at a one of four Hilton Worldwide host site locations. The goal for each student is competitive, integrated employment by the end of the experience.

Montezz Green of Washington, DC

River Terrace Education Campus

Montezz Green

Montezz is enrolled at River Terrace Education Campus and will graduate from the Project SEARCH program this school year.

Montezz interned at the Capital Hilton in the engineering department as part of Project SEARCH. Typically, students switch internships after the first rotation; however, the managers asked for Montezz to stay for a second rotation because they were so impressed with his performance and wanted to see what more he could do in the event a position could be made for him to fill.

Montezz also has an interest in the arts and was selected to attend the VSA Intersections: Arts and Special Education Conference this program year in Irvine, California as a member of the DC Youth Leadership Network. He then came back and brought what he learned from the conference to other members to help inform the planning of the annual Voices of Change Conference.

Montezz was featured in an article for Downtown DC in 2018 when he was an Operations Assistant:

Denise Anderson of Washington, DC

River Terrace Education Campus

Denise Anderson

Denise will be graduating from the Project SEARCH program and is also enrolled at River Terrace Education Campus.

The Project SEARCH team asked Denise to intern at the Intercontinental, a five-star hotel and a new hotel partnership of the program, because of her excellent work during her first internship rotation.

She interned in a new role called housekeeping inspector and demonstrated management and leadership. The team there raved about her performance. The service company at Intercontinental ultimately asked for her to stay for another rotation and hinted at hiring her for a part-time position with them.

Denise’s excellent performance led the service company at Intercontinental to bring in another intern. The partnerships Denise built opened doors for more youth.

View an in-depth profile of Denise:

Crawford James of Washington, DC

Eastern High School

Crawford James

Crawford will be graduating from the Project SEARCH program and he is enrolled at Eastern High School.

He was hired by DoubleTree Crystal City to work as a houseman after interning there during his first internship rotation. He was hired in November, which was a record for our program. Typically, students do not get hired until their third rotation.

Crawford has continued to be a part of the program despite having to work weekends and some evenings. He continued to gain experience by being placed in an internship at the Capital Hilton after being hired.

Learn more about Crawford:

Blog articles provide insights on the activities of schools, programs, grantees, and other education stakeholders to promote continuing discussion of educational innovation and reform. Articles do not endorse any educational product, service, curriculum or pedagogy.


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