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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). 

As of Summer 2019, there were 16 active sites across TN, with more set to launch in the near future.

  1. Downtown Sheraton Hotel, Shelby County School System – Memphis, TN
  2. Lebonheur Childrens Hospital, Shelby County Schools – Memphis, TN
  3. Methodist North Hospital, Shelby County Schools – 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. Amerigroup, Progress, Inc. – Nashville, TN
  10. Embassy Suites, Rutherford County Schools – Murfreesboro, TN
  11. BlueCross/Blue Shield, Hamilton County Schools – Chattanooga, TN
  12. East TN Children’s Hospital, CP Center – Knoxville, TN
  13. University of TN Medical Center, Breakthrough Corp. – Knoxville, TN
  14. Maryville College, Blount County Schools – Maryville, TN
  15. Wilderness of the Smokies, Sevier County Schools – Pigeon Forge, TN
  16. Welch College, Sumner County Schools, - Gallatin, TN

In 2013, the Council convened a team of lead state agencies to develop a plan to create Project SEARCH sites across the state. In 2014, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services adopted the day to day management of the Project SEARCH initiative in Tennessee, with the Council continuing its facilitation role of the Statewide Leadership Team. This initiative continues to be a partnership with Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and the Department of Education. The Council invests in outcomes as needed. For example, in 2016 the Council provided funding for a statewide training conference for all Tennessee Project SEARCH sites.

For updates about Project SEARCH sites in TN, read some of the recent stories from our magazine Breaking Ground:

For more information about the Project SEARCH model, visit