UAMS Project SEARCH Joins State Rep. Douglas Honoring Group Working to Improve Lives for the Disabled

By Jon Parham

State Rep. Charlotte Douglas (District 75 — Alma) presented a legislative citation to organizers of Be Extraordinary during a ceremony at UAMS. They were joined by Moore, who now works at UAMS as an administrative specialist in Quality Management, and leaders of UAMS Project SEARCH, which was modeled on an international program that helps young adults with disabilities develop workplace skills.

Since 2011, the Alma- and Fort Smith-based Be Extraordinary ( has helped 52 individuals — including Moore — to achieve a life goal through the use of technology. Be Extraordinary also has helped individuals with disabilities to communicate when they cannot use their speech, complete their college education, maintain hobbies, start their own business and live life more independently.

“Be Extraordinary has lived up to its name through the extraordinary dedication they’ve shown in their work and the compassion they’ve shown for everyone they have helped,” Douglas said. “I’m proud to call them neighbors in the district and fellow Arkansans.”

UAMS established its Project SEARCH program, which will graduate its third class of interns this May, in 2013. The university serves as the host business, matching each intern’s skills with placement for work experiences on its campus.

“The success of UAMS Project SEARCH is due in no small part to partnerships with organizations such as Be Extraordinary, who help us give our interns the tools, support and resources that position them for success,” said Jenny Adams, Project SEARCH Arkansas Director.

In two years, 25 interns have completed the program at UAMS. Of those, 24 have found jobs. The third class of interns includes 12 at UAMS and now 11 at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, which started its own program in 2015.

UAMS Project SEARCH partners with non-profit ACCESS and Arkansas Rehabilitation Services. ACCESS provides advisors who meet with the interns daily for vocational instruction, job coaching and lessons in independent living skills. Arkansas Rehabilitation Services has provided financial support for the program, applied directly to vocational education and career development.