TEC Project SEARCH is a ten-month school-to-work program for students with disabilities that takes place entirely at Newton-Wellesley Hospital (NWH). This program is designed for students who have a significant disability and who are committed to seeking competitive employment in the community. The program features total immersion in a business setting through a series of rotations in various departments within the host business (NWH). It also includes instructional time for reinforcement of employment skills and career exploration opportunities – all while accessing on-site job coaching and accommodation design, as needed, to support the goal of independence. Students participate in the program through TEC.

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TEC Project SEARCH students build communication and problem-solving skills, as well as job-specific skills, through their individual worksite rotations at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Each student participates in three worksite rotations, supported by an onsite TEC job coach and supervised by NWH department managers. A full time TEC teacher, also housed on site at NWH, oversees the student programs and provides daily instruction during the first 60 minutes of each workday. TEC Project SEARCH positions at NWH are unpaid student internships, which are similar to other internship programs that exist in many hospitals. Potential student worksites are identified through a continuous collaborative process involving the TEC teacher, the TEC job coach, the NWH liaison, and specific worksite supervisors.


An initial orientation to Newton-Wellesley Hospital’s culture and facilities will be planned for each student at the beginning of September 2015, acquainting them with hospital protocol and employee performance expectations. The TEC Project SEARCH Program will commence in early September 2015, enrolling a maximum of 6 to 8 students in its third year.

Students will spend approximately ten to twelve weeks at each internship site during the course of the ten-month program. The student and teacher work together with the NWH liaison to choose worksites based on that student’s previous work experience, interests, and skills assessment. For each worksite rotation students will prepare a resume, interview with the NWH Department Manager, and arrange scheduling.

TEC job coaches and NWH department staff collaborate to provide support for students within their work environments at NWH. As the student gains experience with internship tasks, job coaches will be gradually phased out, allowing the student a maximum sense of independence in their job. Students may also participate in more than one work experience at a time, depending on the scheduling needs of NWH and the individual student’s needs and capabilities. At the end of the worksite rotation, students will submit a letter of resignation and participate in an exit interview, as they would in future employment settings.


Having successfully completed the program’s ten-month instruction and job rotations, students will be assisted in identifying potential positions for employment based on their success in the TEC Project SEARCH Program. TEC staff will support the student’s efforts to procure paid employment in late spring, when all rotations have been completed and the student receives their TEC Project SEARCH Certificate of Completion.


The following process will be used to develop and guide worksite rotations:

  • Collaboration with the NWH liaison to identify interested departments and potential positions for students.
  • Analysis of student profiles by TEC staff as well as NWH department needs in order to place students in positions that offer long-term potential for training.
  • The coordination and provision of worksite support: task analysis, initial training, adaptations, and accommodation of disabilities.
  • Communication with families and NWH staff regarding program planning, progress, and decisions.


Approximately thirty percent of positions within a hospital setting fall into the support category. TEC Project SEARCH will work closely with NWH departments to identify their needs and place students who have skills and interests to meet those needs.

All students will receive daily instruction in general work behaviors/skills, resume writing, interviewing, job procurement/maintenance, before proceeding to their individual internship assignment, where they will complete the work day alongside NWH employees. Close communication and collaboration among the TEC teacher, TEC job coach, and NWH staff will support the student’s skill development in their assignment.


The following characteristics are recommended for student candidates applying to the TEC Project SEARCH Program:

  • Appropriate social skills
  • Basic communication skills (verbal or supported by technology)
  • Ability to take direction
  • Good grooming and hygiene skills
  • Minimum of 17 years of age
  • Approaching the last year in the public education system
  • Independent personal care skills
  • Ability to pass a drug screen, felony check, and up-to-date immunizations
  • Willingness to access independent transportation options
  • Desire to work in a healthcare setting

Application to the TEC Project SEARCH Program at Newton-Wellesley Hospital

Students in their last years of special education programming who meet the criteria for the TEC Project SEARCH Program should direct their inquiry to the Special Education Administrator in their school district. Once the district approves the student as appropriate for the TEC Project SEARCH Program at NWH, an application should be completed and sent to Susan Donelan, TEC Director of Student Services, 141 Mansion Drive, Suite 200, East Walpole, MA 02032.

For further questions about the TEC Project SEARCH Program please contact
Susan Donelan, Director of Student Services, sdonelan@tec-coop.org.