Project SEARCH Collaborates for Autism

By Sheryl R. Frishman, Esq.

There is a unique opportunity to allow students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to receive the critical job training they need to enter meaningful employment  when they graduate from high school.  Due to low funding of critical job training once a student leaves the school system, students with ASD need to take advantage of the opportunity to get the training they require while they are still in school.

There is a fabulous program that is available for students with ASD in their last year of school.  It is called Project SEARCH Collaborates for Autism.

This program is a partnership between New York Collaborates for Autism (NYCA), Arc Westchester, New York Presbyterian Hospital (NYPH) and Southern Westchester BOCES (SW BOCES) .

This High School Transition Program is a one-year internship for students with ASD in their last year of high school.  It is targeted for students whose goal is competitive employment.  The program takes place at NYPH campus in White Plains, NY, where total immersion in the workplace facilitates the teaching and learning process as well as the acquisition of employability and marketable work skills.  Students participate in three internships to explore a variety of career paths.  The students work with a team that includes their family, a special education teacher from SW BOCES and a job coach from Arc Westchester to create an employment goal and support the student during this important transition from school to work.

Benefits to the Students:

  • Participation in a variety of internships with the host business;
  • To acquire competitive, transferable and marketable job skills; and
  • To gain increased independence, confidence and self-esteem.

Benefits to the Business:

  • To access a new, diverse talent stream with skills that match labor needs;
  • Performance and retention in some high-turnover, entry-level positions can increase dramatically;
  • Gain interns and/or employees with ASD to serve as role models for patients and/or consumers;
  • To experience increased regional and national recognition through marketing of this unique program.

Project SEARCH has grown from one original program site at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to over 220 across 39 states and 4 countries.

There is an upcoming event on April 25th in Greenwich, Connecticut where you can learn more about this incredible program. Please visit: for more information about this event.

In addition you can contact:

Gillian Eagan

Director of Special Projects

New York Collaborates for Autism

(212) 759-3775

For more information about special needs planning or special education advocacy, please visit