Project SEARCH application window open

Monday, January 13, 2020

Applications are currently available for the Project SEARCH program at WVU Medicine J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital and will remain open until March 2.

Project SEARCH is an internship experience for students with mild and moderate special needs. The program was first established at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 1996, and J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital will be the first Project SEARCH site in the state.

Once accepted into the program, student interns report to Ruby Memorial Hospital instead of their home school district classroom for the entire school year. Student interns will rotate through a number of job roles at the hospital. Project SEARCH serves as the student interns’ capstone educational experience and often leads to employment once the internships are complete.

Project SEARCH will be coordinated and hosted by WVU Medicine and supported by the West Virginia Department of Education. Together, in partnership with other community organizations, they will create a one-year immersion experience that combines classroom instruction, career exploration, and hands-on training through worksite rotations. Participating community organizations include:

  • the WVU Center for Excellence in Disabilities;
  • West Virginia University;
  • the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services;
  • local school systems in Marion, Monongalia, Preston, and Taylor counties;
  • PACE Enterprises;
  • Goodwill North Central West Virginia;
  • the Mitsubishi Electric Foundation; and
  • the Fairmont Disability Action Center.

Students with disabilities who are interested in applying to become an intern through Project SEARCH should contact Whitney Hatcher, manager of Volunteer Services and Project SEARCH business liaison, at or 304-598-4396.

In addition to the application, interested students must pass a skills assessment evaluation and be interviewed as part of the acceptance process. The assessment will be held on March 19 in the gym at Rosenbaum Family House on the Ruby Memorial campus.