August 22, 2019

Media Contact: Mark Miller, Administrator, Office of Public Information, 410-313-2022

ELLICOTT CITY – Yesterday, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for Project SEARCH, a one-year program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in their last year of high school. Ball was joined by Arc of Howard County Executive Director Cindy Parr, HCPSS Superintendent Michael J. Martirano, Executive Director of Special Education Dr. Terrell “Terri” Savage, and Jill Pierce from the Maryland State Department of Education. Photos from the signing can be found here.

“In Howard County we presume competence and are dedicated to expanding opportunity for all, regardless of ability. Our community continues to be a place where we support all our students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and I remain committed to ensuring they have everything they need to achieve individual success. Project SEARCH connects our participants to jobs, but more importantly the program promotes self-determination, independence, and full inclusion,” said Ball. “Over the years we have continued to grow, from 12 students to more than 60! By signing this MOU, we commit to growing this important program for years to come, in order to make Howard County a model, inclusive community.”

“We are proud to be part of such a wonderful collaboration that sets such a high example of what can happen when people come together,” said Cindy Parr, Arc of Howard County Executive Director.

“How we respond to people in an inclusive environment represents our values of who are. We are a huge supporter of Project SEARCH,” said Dr. Michael Martirano, HCPSS Superintendent.

“We are working together toward the same common goal and we’re so elated to continue the partnership,” said Dr. Terrell “Terri” Savage, Executive Director of Special Education. “We’ve had wonderful opportunities to expand experiences for our students and we want to keep the great journey going.”

“It’s really exciting to see such a strong partnership in Howard County,” said Jill Pierce from the Maryland Department of Education. “Our Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) is very excited to continue this partnership and continue serving our students.”

The program 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 from 2019 to 2022.

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