Here for Everyone: Project SEARCH graduates are ready to launch



Banner Desert and Banner Gateway medical centers recently celebrated the 2024 graduating class of Project SEARCH, an education and employment program for people 18 years or older with intellectual or developmental disabilities. The graduates are Ajay Magnaye, Brayden Moisa-Acfalle, Emmalee Stone, Julia Trevizo, Victor Velez, and Iain Williams.

Graduates spent 10 months working with Banner clinical teams and completing three unpaid internship rotations designed to teach them marketable, transferable work skills. Multiple departments and Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center worked together to create learning opportunities in culinary, environmental services, and patient transport. Additionally, educators from Gilbert Public Schools and Neurodiversity Education Research Center provided additional training on topics that helped students hone their work competencies, such as interview skills, dress codes, team building, work safety and handling money wisely. The goal is to help them attain employment by the time they finish the program or shortly thereafter.

Project SEARCH is an internationally recognized, evidence-based employment training program whose primary objective is to secure competitive employment for people with cognitive and developmental disabilities. Hosted at 617 sites across 48 states and 10 countries, this 10-month program provides individualized, on-the-job development for students supplemented by daily classroom instruction and job coaching. Banner Health began its partnership with Project SEARCH in 2020 at Banner Gateway Medical Center in Gilbert. As the largest nonprofit health system in Arizona, Banner aims to welcome and support individuals with developmental disabilities in employment roles that match their talents, enabling them to contribute to serving Banner’s patients and grow professionally through paid employment. Banner Health is proud to support the training of these participants and hopes to extend employment upon the completion of the program.

Congratulations to the Project SEARCH 2024 graduates!

Learn more about Project SEARCH here.