Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH® is a nationally acclaimed model for transitioning students with intellectual and developmental disabilities from high school into employment through internships at community businesses (though some sites in TN have decided to serve adults with disabilities, rather than students). 

From Patient to Employee: See how Project SEARCH interns at Vanderbilt University Medical Center engaged in meaningful work,

Tennessee currently has 17 active Project SEARCH programs across the state, with expansions always an ongoing discussion.

1.     Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Shelby County Schools – Memphis, TN

2.     Methodist North Hospital, Shelby County Schools – Memphis, TN

3.     Nike Distribution Center, Shelby County School System – Memphis, TN

4.     Peabody Hotel, Shelby County Schools – Memphis, TN

5.     West Tennessee Healthcare, Jackson-Madison County School System – Jackson TN

6.     Tennova Hospital, Clarksville/Montgomery County Schools – Clarksville, TN

7.     Embassy Suites, Nashville Public Schools – Nashville, TN

8.     Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, Progress, Inc. – Nashville TN

9.     Embassy Suites, Rutherford County Schools – Murfreesboro, TN

10.  BlueCross/Blue Shield, Hamilton County Schools – Chattanooga, TN

11.  East TN Children’s Hospital, Sertoma – Knoxville, TN

12.  Ft. Sanders Hospital, Knox County Schools – Knoxville, TN

13.  Parkwest Medical Center, Knox County Schools – Knoxville, TN

14.  University of TN Medical Center, Breakthrough Corp. – Knoxville, TN

15.  Hilton Knoxville Airport, Blount County Schools – Alocoa, TN

16.  Wilderness of the Smokies, Sevier County Schools – Pigeon Forge, TN

17.  Welch College, Sumner County Schools, - Gallatin, TN

18. Niswonger Children's Hospital, Johnson City Schools - Johnson City, TN

In 2013, the Council on Developmental Disabilities convened a team of lead state agencies to develop a plan to create Project SEARCH® sites across the state. In 2014, the Tennessee Department of Human Services, Division of  Rehabilitation Services adopted the day to day management of the Project SEARCH® initiative in Tennessee, with the Council on Developmental Disabilities continuing its facilitation role of the Statewide Leadership Team. This initiative continues to be a partnership with the Division of Rehabilitation Services, Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and the Tennessee Department of Education.

Project Search Programs Map

For updates about Project SEARCH sites in TN, read some of the recent stories from the Council on Developmental Disabilities’ magazine Breaking Ground:

For more information about the Project SEARCH® model, visit

The Landscape Podcast: Susie Rutkowski Speaks about Everything Project SEARCH Host: Naveh Eldar