City of Salem Partners with Albertina Kerr to Offer Job Training for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Posted on January 20, 2023

PORTLAND, OREGON (January 19, 2023) – The City of Salem is partnering again with Albertina Kerr’s Project SEARCH internship program to provide job training opportunities for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Applications are open now for a March 6, 2023, start date for this nationally acclaimed nine-month internship program that provides employability training for individuals with I/DD to help them find meaningful employment in the community.

“The City of Salem is looking forward to welcoming another cohort of interns,” said Michele Bennett, business liaison, City of Salem. “This program is valuable because it not only provides people with I/DD the opportunity to learn job skills but also provides our teams fresh perspectives and ideas.”

Up to 10 interns will be fully integrated into various departments at the City of Salem, learning competitive, transferable, and marketable job skills while gaining increased independence, confidence, and self-esteem from March 6 to Dec. 22, 2023. An onsite instructor and skills trainers will assist the interns in learning the job tasks and building transferable skills, including vocational skills, through direct work experience while rotating through three City of Salem departments. At the end of the program, the interns receive job search assistance.

“The unemployment rate for people with I/DD is more than twice the national average,” said Allison Stark, CEO of Albertina Kerr, “We are grateful for the City of Salem in partnering with us to create opportunities for the interns to learn skills that will support them to find and maintain employment post internship.”

Employment outcomes: A successful Project SEARCH outcome is defined as competitive employment in an integrated setting, year-round, 16 hours per week, or more, at a prevailing wage. Before COVID, Kerr’s Project SEARCH graduates had an 85% successful outcome, 19.8% higher than the national outcome. During the pandemic, Kerr’s graduates had a 56% successful outcome, 9.9% higher than the national outcome. Graduates of Project SEARCH earn, on average, 80% above the Federal minimum wage, and 65% receive health benefits through their employers.

Project SEARCH Eligibility: To qualify, interns must be eligible to receive Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Services and State of Oregon Developmental Disabilities Services or Brokerage Services. Interns must also provide documentation showing they can legally work in the United States.

To sign up or learn more about Project SEARCH, email

Since 1907, Albertina Kerr has been providing services and advocacy for those who need it most. As one of the largest and oldest Human Services providers in the Pacific Northwest, Kerr offers support programs and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Kerr also provides short-term crisis psychiatric care and outpatient mental health services for children, teens, and their families. For more information, visit

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