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,

As of 2019, there are 17 active sites across TN, with expansion always an going discussion.

1.     Downtown Sheraton Hotel, Shelby County School System – Memphis, TN

2.     Lebonheur Children’s 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, Sertoma – Knoxville, TN

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

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

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 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.

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