ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Today, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball was joined by partners Arc of Howard County Executive Director Cindy Parr, HCPSS Superintendent Michael J. Martirano, and Matt Jackson, Maryland State Department of Education Division of Rehabilitation Services Regional Director, to sign a three-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) for Project SEARCH, a transformational internship program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in their last year of high school. Photos from the signing can be found here.
Each school year, Project SEARCH helps students gain employment and marketable work skills through an internship with Howard County government. Students in the program work with a team that includes their family, a special education teacher, and The Arc of Howard County to create an employment goal and support the student during this important transition from school to work. The MOU extended Project SEARCH through 2025.
Howard County remains committed to supporting all our students of all abilities. Project SEARCH connects our participants to jobs, but more importantly the program promotes self-determination, independence, and full inclusion. Over the years we have continued to grow, from 12 students to more than 60. With this renewed MOU, we are dedicated to growing this important program for years to come.
"The Arc of Howard County is thrilled with the success of the Project SEARCH program and the incredible collaborative effort it shares with Howard County Government, DORs, and Howard County Public Schools,” said ARC Executive Director Cindy Parr. “We look forward to our continued partnership and the benefits that students receive each year through their participation in this inclusive education/employment program."
“I am pleased by the outstanding collaboration between our school system and Howard County Government, Arc of Howard County, and Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Rehabilitation Services that has contributed to the success of the Project SEARCH program,” said HCPSS Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Martirano. “Many of the students have secured employment at sites across our County after completing the program and continue to treasure the relationships they developed with their mentors.”
“The Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) is excited to continue the Project SEARCH program in Howard County through our partnership with the ARC, Howard County Government and HCPSS,” said DORS Regional Director Matt Jackson. “Our program provides students with truly unique and varied work -based learning experiences. These experiences are critical in preparing Transitioning Youth for meaningful and competitive employment.”