Nebraska VR Where your future begins

Project SEARCH

The cornerstone of Project SEARCH is total workplace immersion in a large business.

Project SEARCH Success Story

Project SEARCH is a partnership between Nebraska VR, a business, area school systems, the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Assistive Technology Partnership, and Division of Developmental Disabilities. This one year school-to-work program is business led and takes place entirely in the workplace. The experience includes a combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and hands-on training through worksite rotations.

Helping Students Develop Competitive Employment Skills

Project SEARCH is a high school transition program that provides training and education intended to lead to employment for individuals with disabilities. Students who have completed their academic requirements may apply if they are in their last year of high school. Each interested student is required to make a formal application to the program and to interview with a selection committee. Students are selected through a rating process by a committee consisting of representatives of a school, Nebraska VR, and the Project SEARCH host business. All students must be eligible for services with Nebraska VR.

Seriously Unique High School Transition Program

The program provides real-life work experience to help youth with significant disabilities make successful transitions from school to adult life. Each student participates in three 10-week internships during the school year. In each rotation the student learns job-specific skills while having the opportunity to put employability skills into practice. Monthly progress meetings are held to help students define their career goal and to plan necessary steps to achieve that goal.

Program Model

Project SEARCH is an international trademarked and copyrighted program model, which focuses solely on employment for Project SEARCH interns.

The cornerstone of Project SEARCH is total workplace immersion in a large business. For five days a week students report to the host business, learn employability skills in the classroom, and job skills while participating in a variety of work experiences. Managers at the internship sites work with the Project SEARCH staff to support the students during the day. Students get continuous feedback from the internship manager, co-workers, and Project SEARCH staff. A certified special education teacher and job coaches work with both the students and the business staff. Students end their day by reflection, problem solving, planning, and journaling key learning points. The goal upon program completion and graduation is to utilize skills acquired during the internship for gainful employment.

Want more information?

Email the Marketing Team at Nebraska VR or see the list of Project Search Contacts.

Project SEARCH Sites


View Project SEARCH Sites in a larger map.

Find Project SEARCH in your area.

Children's Hospital & Medical Center Project SEARCH

Business Liaison: Suzanne Nocita, sunocita@childrensomaha.org
Teacher: Melissa Scheidt, scheidt.melissa@westside66.net
VR: Jen Belew, jennifer.belew@nebraska.gov
ATP: Brooke Harrie, brooke.harrie@nebraska.gov
NCBVI: Nancy Flearl, nancy.flearl@nebraska.gov
Referring School: Westside Community

Columbus Community Hospital Project SEARCH

Business Liaison: Melinda Allen, mjallen@columbushosp.org
Teacher: Mark Staroscik, staroscikm@discoverers.org
VR: Angie Gangwish, angie.gangwish@nebraska.gov
ATP: Melissa Soulliere, melissa.soulliere@nebraska.gov
NCBVI: John Schmitt, john.schmitt@nebraska.gov
Referring Schools: ESU7

Cornhusker Marriott Project SEARCH

Business Liaison: Ryan Brunken rbrunken@thecornhusker.com
Teacher: Stacy Buescher, stacy.buescher@district145.org
VR: Blaine Harvey, blaine.harvey@nebraska.gov
ATP: David Altman, david.altman@nebraska.gov
NCBVI: Eric Buckwalter, eric.buckwalter@nebraska.gov
Referring school: Waverly, Norris, Crete, Malcolm, Syracuse, Wahoo, and surrounding districts

Embassy Suites LaVista/Omaha Project SEARCH

Business Liaison: David Scott , David.Scott@atriumhospitality.com; Keele Taylor, Keele.Taylor@atriumhospitality.com
Teacher: Kady Wendt, kwendt@paplv.org
VR: Elizabeth Perez, elizabeth.perez@nebraska.gov
ATP: Brooke Harrie, brooke.harrie@nebraska.gov
NCBVI: Nancy Flearl, nancy.flearl@nebraska.gov
Referring Schools: Papillion LaVista

Embassy Suites/Lincoln Project SEARCH

Business Liaison: Heather Brethouwer, Heather.Brethouwer@atriumhospitality.com
Teacher: Kim Hovendick, khovend@lps.org
VR: Laurie Colburn, laurie.colburn@nebraska.gov
ATP: David Altman, david.altman@nebraska.gov
NCBVI: Eric Buckwalter, eric.buckwalter@nebraska.gov
Referring Schools: Lincoln Public Schools

Faith Regional Health Services Project SEARCH

Business Liaison: Lacey Hoesing, lhoesing@frhs.org
Teacher: Tami Kaup, tamikaup@npsne.org
VR: Kara Michaelson, kara.michaelson@nebraska.gov
ATP: Melissa Soulliere, Melissa.soulliere@nebraska.gov
NCBVI: John Schmitt, john.schmitt@nebraska.gov
Referring schools: Norfolk, Norfolk Catholic, Lutheran High Northeast, Madison, Battle Creek, Pierce, Stanton, Wayne, Winside

Good Samaritan Medical Center Project SEARCH

Business Liaison: Amanda Henson, amandahenson@catholichealth.net; Jill Vavra, jillvavra@catholichealth.net
Teacher: Keri Marlatt, kermarlatt@kearneycats.com; Michial Templeton, mictempleton@kearneycats.com
VR: Lupe Stevens, lupe.stevens@nebraska.gov; Cindy Powell, cindy.powell@nebraska.gov
ATP: Pam Cody, pam.cody@nebraska.gov
NCBVI: Sarah Stewart, sarah.stewart@nebraska.gov; Cristal Dimas, cristal.dimas@nebraska.gov
Referring school: Kearney Public Schools

Heritage at Sterling Ridge Project SEARCH

Business Liaison: Courtney Rief, crief@heritage-communities.com
Teacher: Kendall Rider, karider@mpsomaha.org
VR: Ken Cuevas, ken.cuevas@nebraska.gov
ATP: Brooke Harrie, brooke.harrie@nebraska.gov
NCBVI: Nancy Flearl, nancy.flearl@nebraska.gov
Referring Schools: Millard Public Schools

Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital Omaha Project SEARCH

Business Liaison: Jeff Stec, jstec@madonna.org
Teacher: Andrea Street, astreet@epsne.org
VR: Lindsay Brown, lindsay.brown@nebraska.gov
ATP: Brooke Harrie, brooke.harrie@nebraska.gov
NCBVI: Nancy Flearl, nancy.flearl@nebraska.gov
Referring school: Elkhorn Public School

Mary Lanning Health Care Project SEARCH

Business Liaison: Brad Lindblad, blindblad@marylanning.org
Teacher: Amy Vetter, avetter@hhstigers.com
VR: Michelle Morganflash, michelle.morganflash@nebraska.gov
ATP: Donna Buschkoetter, donna.buschkoetter@nebraska.gov
NCBVI: Cristal Dimas, cristal.dimas@nebraska.gov
Referring schools: Hastings, Adams, Central Silver Lake, Doniphan-Trumball, Kenesaw, Blue Hill, Harvard, Superior, ESU 9

Mercy Medical Center Project SEARCH

Business Liaison: Pat Rodriguez, rodrigup@mercyhealth.com
Teacher: Linda Ebel, lebel@unpsk-12.org
VR: Shelley Dahl, shelley.dahl@nebraska.gov
ATP: Melissa Soulliere, melissa.soulliere@nebraska.gov
NCBVI: John Schmitt, john.schmitt@nebraska.gov
Referring schools: Omaha Nation, Winnebago, South Sioux City, Homer

Nebraska Medicine (Main Campus) Project SEARCH

Business Liaison: Thomas Hoffman, thhoffman@nebraskamed.com; Ian Froemming, ian.froemming@unmc.edu
Teacher: Chris Miller, cmiller@madonnaschool.org
VR: Elizabeth Perez, elizabeth.perez@nebraska.gov
ATP: Brooke Harrie, brooke.harrie@nebraska.gov
NCBVI: Nancy Flearl, nancy.flearl@nebraska.gov
Referring school: Madonna School/OPS

Nebraska Medicine Bellevue

Business Liaison: Brian Schram, bschram@nebraskamed.com
Teacher: Renee Proskol, renee.proksel@bpsne.net
VR: Elizabeth Perez, elizabeth.perez@nebraska.gov
ATP: Brooke Harrie, brooke.harrie@nebraska.gov
NCBVI: Nancy Flearl, nancy.flearl@nebraska.gov
Referring school: Bellevue

Saint Francis Medical Center Project SEARCH

Business Liaison: Tara Edwardson, tedwardson@sfmc-gi.org
Teacher: Michella Honas, mhonas@gips.org VR. Felipe Cruz, felipe.cruz@nebraska.gov
ATP: Roxanne Rowley, roxanne.rowley@nebraska.gov
NCBVI: Sarah Stewart, sarah.stewart@nebraska.gov; Cristal Dimas, cristal.dimas@nebraska.gov
Referring school: Grand Island Public School

Wal-Mart Distribution Center Project SEARCH

Business Liaison: Mark Oettinger, mark.oettinger@wal-mart.com
Teacher: Dee Tuenge, dtuenge@nppsd.org
VR: Katie Cain, katie.cain@nebraska.gov
ATP: Pam Cody, pam.cody@nebraska.gov
NCBVI: Sarah Stewart, sarah.stewart@nebraska.gov
Referring School: North Platte Public School

York General Hospital Project SEARCH (On Hiatus 2018/2019 School Year)

Business Liaison: Cathy Norquest, cathy.norquest@yorkgeneral.org
Teacher: Nichole Wetjen, Nichole.wetjen@esu6.org
VR: DJ Plautz, dj.plautz@nebraska.gov
ATP: Pam Cody, pam.cody@nebraska.gov
NCBVI: Amy Buresh, amy.buresh@nebraska.gov
Referring school: Wilbur, Claytonia, Utica-Centennial, York, McCool Junction, Heartland, and Shickley, ESU 6

Watch Pathway to Employment Video Series

The Pathway to Employment Video Series is designed to de-mystify the many services provided to clients and businesses while highlighting the innovation that is the culture of Nebraska VR. While certainly each story is either one of progress towards an employment goal or a client's employment goal success, they are also stories about the important role played by staff members, businesses, ATP, Easter Seals, Project SEARCH, and others. Go to: vr.nebraska.gov/videos/

Our Mission

We help people with disabilities, prepare for, obtain, and maintain employment while helping businesses recruit, train, and retain employees with disabilities.

Contact Us

Nebraska VR
Nebraska Department of Education
Address: P.O. Box 94987, Lincoln, NE 68509
Telephone: 402-471-3644
Toll Free: 877-637-3422 or 877-NE-REHAB
FAX: 402-471-0788
E-mail: