For young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, finding a job can be challenging.  

That's why Project SEARCH, a 9-month long internship program, aims to help students find employment after high school.

Six students from Roosevelt High School were selected to participate. 

"Project SEARCH is a wonderful program because it allows students with disabilities to finally get an opportunity to show that they can work," explained Reggie Dela Cruz, Project SEARCH Teacher at Roosevelt High School.

It's a partnership between Vocational Rehabilitation, the Department of Education, Abilities Unlimited, Developmental Disabilities, and Outrigger.
It provides real-life work experience, with a mission to get the interns hired in a job after the program is done. 

The students have been working at Hokulani Waikiki and Embassy Suites, in various areas like food services, groundskeeping, administrative work, and housekeeping. 

"It creates more workforce for us within our industry here in Waikiki.  Additionally, our employees really enjoy the opportunity to be able to teach these young adults new skills," explained  President and CEO of Outrigger Hospitality Group, Jeff Wagoner.

With over 600 programs worldwide in areas including Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, it's only the second year Project SEARCH has been in Hawaii.

"Next year, Kaiser Moanalua will be starting their internship opportunity for six central district schools," said Dela Cruz. 

The students will graduate from the internship next week. Dela Cruz says they  hope to expand the program statewide.