Project SEARCH

This internationally acclaimed, unique school-to-work program allows students with autism and related disabilities entering their final year of entitlement – typically turning 21 – to attend a full-day, 10-month program onsite at Jefferson Hospital in Cherry Hill or Stratford. Applications are now being accepted for Fall 2024!  Learn more below and see our event info here.

Project SEARCH interns participate in work rotations, learn transferable skills, and acquire hands-on knowledge.

This Project SEARCH program has been recognized internationally for exemplary employment outcomes since its launch in 2016, including 100% employment outcomes in 2020. Y.A.L.E. School is joined by Jefferson Health, NJ DVRS, NJ DDD, and Samost Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern New Jersey (JFCS) in a collaborative partnership that makes such extraordinary outcomes possible.

As an integral partner in the success of the program, Jefferson currently sponsors over twelve Project SEARCH interns, including students who have been attending Y.A.L.E. School and new students referred to the program by surrounding school districts specifically for the Project SEARCH opportunity.

Transition OptionAges ServedLevel of Student IndependenceLocationsGoal
Project SEARCH20-21 final year of public educationHighJefferson Hospital - Cherry Hill
Jefferson Hospital - Stratford
To obtain competitive employment with supports lessening over time

Project SEARCH at Jefferson Stratford Hospital was recognized with a “100% Employment Outcome” award and Project SEARCH at Jefferson Cherry Hill Hospital was recognized with an “Excellent Outcome” award” from Project SEARCH at the 16th annual Project SEARCH Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 7/11/2023.

Interns at Jefferson train in a variety of departments, including Health Information Management, Patient Transport, Pharmacy, Storeroom, Food Service, Facilities, and Environmental Services.

Jefferson has hired several interns upon completion of their Project SEARCH internships including in Patient Transport, HIM, Food Service, the Storeroom, and EVS.

Project SEARCH at Jefferson Health partners  include Jefferson, the Y.A.L.E. School, the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities, the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, and Samost Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Southern New Jersey.


Helen Liu, Assistant Director, Statewide DVRS; Erin Riehle, Project SEARCH Founder and Co-Director; Darlene Anderson, Project SEARCH at Jefferson Health Coordinator; Beth Kaplan, Project SEARCH – Y.A.L.E. Teacher;  Solo Okonkwo, NJ DVRS Project SEARCH Liaison; Coordinator; Susie Rutkowski, Project SEARCH Co-Founder and Education Specialist.

For more information, email or watch a previous information session here:

Project SEARCH Application & Guidelines

Project SEARCH Application 2024-2025

Project SEARCH Guidelines 2024-2025



Project SEARCH at Jefferson Health Fall 2023 Newsletter

2022 – 2023

2021 – 2022

2020 – 2021