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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. Four sites in TN have decided to serve adults with disabilities rather than students, and these sites are noted below as an "adult model". 

As of Summer 2020, there were 17 active sites across TN.

  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 (Adult model)
  9. Amerigroup, Progress, Inc. – Nashville, TN (Adult model)
  10. Embassy Suites, Rutherford County Schools – Murfreesboro, TN
  11. BlueCross/Blue Shield, Hamilton County Schools – Chattanooga, TN
  12. Parkwest Medical Center, Knox County Schools - Knoxville, TN
  13. East TN Children’s Hospital, Cerebral Palsy Center – Knoxville, TN (Adult model)
  14. University of TN Medical Center, Breakthrough Corp. – Knoxville, TN (Adult model)
  15. Maryville College, Blount County Schools – Maryville, TN
  16. Wilderness of the Smokies, Sevier County Schools – Pigeon Forge, TN
  17. 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