Project SEARCH – Health First


Health First’s Project SEARCH graduating class ready for real-world experience

Eight students will continue a longstanding tradition at Health First by becoming successful Project SEARCH graduates who are skilled and trained for the workforce.

Project SEARCH is a vocational training and employment program that matches the abilities of people with disabilities to real jobs, and then provides support and training needed for both the employee and employer, at no cost.

With diploma in hand, the 2019 Project SEARCH graduating class is now ready for any professional work culture.

“Health First implemented Project SEARCH in February 2007 and since then, each graduate has made not only their lives better, but also the organization and the surrounding communities,” said Maria Trieste, Health First’s Project SEARCH Job Placement Supervisor.

As of July 2019:

  • 201 individuals – 154 hired overall since February 2007
  • 79% of interns have obtained paid, competitive employment in Brevard County
  • 79 grads (40%) have been hired by Health First
  • 75 grads (37%) have been hired in the community
    • 92 of our graduates are still working

Trieste says the goal is increasing awareness for employment opportunities for people with disabilities and matching them with local businesses. Her role is to make sure Project SEARCH teaches those with disabilities business skills needed so they can live independently.

Project SEARCH candidates must first be interested in gaining real-world experience and learning employment techniques from seasoned professionals.

The program consists of a rotation of three to four internships that are selected to match individual skills and interests. During the internships, students work hand in hand with coaches who mentor and ensure their success throughout the process. Several internship rotations are available at Health First’s Holmes Regional Medical Center and Health First’s Cape Canaveral Hospital.

To apply or for more information on hiring a Project SEARCH student, visit