Saint Mary’s Regional Health System is proud to partner with Friendship Community Care and Project Search as one of the six programs in Arkansas to provide internships for young adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Registration forms can be found on the Friendship website at The deadline for internship applications is March 1, 2017.

Project Search Program to Open in Russellville

(Reprinted from The Russellville Courier)
January 25, 2017
Katie Baker of Friendship Community Care discusses the Project Search program at Saint Mary's.

Katie Baker of Friendship Community Care discusses the Project Search program at Saint Mary’s.

Katie Baker, Friendship Community Care director of employment and day programs and Jim Davidson, Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center CEO, recently announced their businesses will participate in the Project Search internship program.

Project Search is a program for young adults with a variety of developmental and intellectual disabilities, ages 18-22, but individuals in the 23-30 age range can be included if funding is available to support participants that are beyond school eligibility, according to Project Search’s website.

According to the Friendship Community Care website the program will last from August of this year through May 2018. The class size for the Russellville program will be limited to six young adults.

Davidson said his late mother was a special education teacher. His speech was followed by a presentation given by Liz Falk, disability program specialist for Project Search International.
As part of the Project Search program students will meet with teachers from Friendship Community Care who will assist them with learning job skills, be provided with vocational and community rehabilitation by Arkansas Rehabilitation Services near the end of their internships and Saint Mary’s will act as the host business for their internships.

Students will spend most of their day at their internships. Participants will take part in three unpaid internships with continual feedback to gain and increase job skills, according to Falk’s presentation.

Project Search offers internships in various industries, but healthcare makes up the largest portion of businesses that participate in the program, according to Project Search data provided by Falk.

The job outcome goals that Project Search has set for its participants are as follows: for participants to have jobs that offer them at least 16 hours a week, minimum wage or better, an integrated setting and a job that is non-seasonal.

Project Search’s other goal is to see a culture change at the host business as the work skills of young adults with disabilities are recognised.

Data provided by Falk showed 75.5 percent of Project Search graduates are employed, 33 percent of graduates are employed by their host site and 67 percent are employed elsewhere.
There are 435 programs in 45 states nationwide, with six programs in Arkansas.

Registration forms are now available through Friendship Community Care’s website at

The deadline to register for the internship program is March 1.

All completed registration forms should be mailed to Friendship Community Care, Dustin Emerson, 1001 N Arkansas Ave, Russellville AR 72801.