Vice President of Corporate Communications & Marketing
703-361-4195 x 1364 (o)
Manassas, VA (March 25, 2022) – The Virginia Beach Mayor’s Committee for Persons with Disabilities last week honored Didlake and its Project SEARCH partners at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana for their work to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities in Virginia Beach. The award was presented during a ceremony held March 17 at the Williams Farm Recreation Center in Virginia Beach.
Project SEARCH is an international program that prepares people with disabilities aged 18 to 21 for success in competitive integrated employment. This is the inaugural school year of Project SEARCH at NAS Oceana, which is the first installation to host Project SEARCH interns.
While presenting the award, Virginia Beach Mayor Robert M. Dyer said, “The collaboration between the base at Oceana, Virginia Beach Schools, Didlake, the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services and the Virginia Department of Education enables the participants to gain actual work training and secure a job while bringing awareness of people with disabilities… Congratulations to Project SEARCH!”
Didlake, a nonprofit that connects people with disabilities to employment and community engagement opportunities, is the employment services partner, providing on-site skills training and, upon successful graduation, one-on-one job coaching to help interns find employment. Along with NAS Oceana, other partners include Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS), the Virginia Department of Education and Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rehabilitation Research and Training Center.
The program partners work together to support military-connected students of VBCPS in their last year of high school while they complete four internship rotations in various areas of the installation. Project SEARCH incorporates skills training, job coaching, career exploration and real-life work experience.
“Of Didlake’s four Project SEARCH partnerships, the NAS Oceana site is very unique. Didlake Skills Trainer Krystol Greene and the rest of the team have worked really hard to develop internships for the students despite facing the challenge of being on a very large base. This team has already proven successful since at least one intern has been offered a permanent job. Didlake appreciates Mayor Dyer recognizing our newest Project SEARCH partnership at NAS Oceana,” said Dana Taylor, Vice President, Rehabilitation Services, Didlake.
The Mayor’s Committee for Persons with Disabilities serves in an advisory capacity to Mayor Dyer. Its mission is to raise awareness of the Mayor, City Council, City Administration and the community at-large of the needs of persons with disabilities. The Committee presents annual awards to individuals, businesses and service organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of the citizens of Virginia Beach with disabilities. The Project SEARCH team was nominated for the award by Robin Agati, Exceptional Family Member Case Liaison, NAS Oceana.
Didlake is a nonprofit rehabilitative services organization headquartered in Manassas, Virginia. It was founded in 1965 to create opportunities for people with disabilities through services that connect them to employment, education and the community. Through its Day Support, Employment Services, and Workforce Support and Development programs, Didlake serves over 2,000 people with disabilities annually throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Didlake is licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia, accredited by CARF, is CIMS-GB-certified, and proudly serves the nation through the AbilityOne® Program.