Project SEARCH Holds Open House

St. Marys Project SEARCH Director Kathy Jeffries talks to a parent of a prospective intern at the program's open house Tuesday evening.
Staff Writer

Tuesday evening, community members and potential interns got a chance to see what it would be like to work as an intern with Project SEARCH at Otterbein-St. Marys through an open house. At the event, guests were greeted by interns for the 2018-19 school year and could then ask questions to any or all of the services available.

Agencies from the state, county and local level were all represented at the open house including Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD), Auglaize County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Capabilities Inc. 

Part of the tours included describing what an average day is like for the interns —  who must have an individualized educational plan and are eligible for OOD services.

The day starts by signing in by 8 a.m. before doing soft-skill training for an hour. After training, interns are released to their internship within Otterbein-St. Marys where they work with mentors and job coaches to develop skills ranging from customer service and office work to building maintenance and food preparation.

Interns, who range in age between 18 and 22 years old, spend 10 weeks with each of their three internships learning not only how to do the actual work itself but also learning social skills, time management and other soft skills that can help the young adults secure a job in the community.

Spreading the word about Project SEARCH means that more and more people from around western Ohio may be interested in joining the program. Jeffries noted that this is not an issue for her, as long as the intern can get to their job reliably.

She also added that the St. Marys program is not the only one in western Ohio, citing one in Lima at St. Rita’s and another in Troy, but St. Marys offers those who are in between a more local option.

Those interesting in finding more information about Project SEARCH can contact Jeffries at or search Project SEARCH at Otterbein St. Marys on Facebook.