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About Project SEARCH CDA

  • PROJECT SEARCH is a High School Transition Program that provides education and training to young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

    Project SEARCH was first developed in 1996 at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to provide employment and education opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities. In 2010, Project SEARCH was replicated in northern Idaho through collaboration between Kootenai Health, the Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Coeur d’Alene School District and Tesh.

    OUR MISSION: Project SEARCH is dedicated to providing education and training to young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities through an innovative workforce and career development model that benefits the individual, the workplace and our community. Our primary goal is to secure competitive employment outcomes for each of our students.

    HIGH SCHOOL TRANSITION: The High School Transition program is a one-year educational program for students with disabilities. Participants have met all academic requirements for graduation and spend a school year reporting to the Project SEARCH host business, where they learn the skills needed to obtain competitive community employment at the conclusion of the program.

    The High School Transition program combines classroom time with a school year-long unpaid internship at a host healthcare facility or business. This combination of instruction and immersion in the workplace setting thoroughly prepares interns to meet employer expectations.

    In addition to classroom learning on employability and independent living skills, each student will spend four hours per day working in an internship. Project SEARCH students gain experience working in a variety of settings including: equipment transportation, nutrition services, quality improvement, housekeeping, child care, laundry, in-patient and out-patient rehabilitation, senior care, central services, purchasing, warehouse, informational technology, out-patient imaging, MRI, and facilities.

    There are three 9- to 10-week internship rotations during the school year.

    PROGRAM ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS: The Project SEARCH application process takes place each spring. Student applicants must also meet the following requirements for consideration:

    • Qualify for Special Education services
    • Be between 18 and 21 years old
    • Be eligible for deferred graduation
    • Have achieved second- or third-grade reading and math levels
    • Be eligible for vocational rehabilitation
    • Maintain appropriate behavior and social skills
    • Have basic communication skills
    • Take directions from the supervisor
    • Pass drug screening and felony check and have up-to-date immunizations
    • Be independent about personal hygiene, toileting and feeding skills
    • Have previous work experience (including school, volunteer or paid work)
    • Be willing to access public transportation
    • Be willing to make a commitment to competitive employment upon program completion

    PROGRAM OBJECTIVES: The High School Transition program prepares interns for employment in the community. During this program students will:

    • Receive classroom instruction on employability and independent living skills
    • Participate in internship rotations
    • Work with a job coach and host mentor to learn how to perform internship tasks independently
    • Engage in job development activities
    • Graduate with the skills needed to obtain a community job that aligns with their vocational goals


  • Theresa Moran pictured in foreground; Abbie Waters pictured in background

    Theresa Moran, Co-Instructor 208-625-5799 tmoran@cdaschools.org

    Abbie Waters, Co-Instructor 208-625-5799 awaters@cdaschools.org 

    Melanie Funston, VR Counselor 208-769-1441 


    Theresa Moran has been the Project SEARCH Instructor since the program began in 2010 at Kootenai Health. She is employed by the Coeur d’Alene School District. Theresa has been teaching special education for over 25 years. She has her Master of Education in Human Relations and Counseling and an undergraduate degree in Special Education. 

    Abbie Waters has worked with Project SEARCH as a job coach in the past and has been employed by the Coeur d’Alene School District since 2019. She is thrilled to be the co-instructor for the Project SEARCH program. She has her Master of Education in Special Education and an undergraduate degree in Public Relations. 

    Visit the international Project SEARCH website for more information.

Nondiscrimination Notice

  • The Coeur d’Alene School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability in any educational programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance or in employment practices. The District provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups.

    Inquiries regarding compliance with this nondiscrimination policy may be directed to the Director of Special Services or Director of Human Resources at the District Administrative Center, 1400 N. Northwood Center Ct., Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814-2472, (208) 664-8241.