The MolinaCares Accord Donates $20,000 to Project SEARCH for Program Site for New Mexicans with Disabilities in Tribal Communities
Media Contacts: Caroline Zubieta, Caroline.Zubieta@molinahealthcare.com, 562-951-1588
November 10, 2022 – The MolinaCares Accord (“MolinaCares”), in collaboration with Molina Healthcare of New Mexico (“Molina”), recently donated $20,000 to Project SEARCH, a program designed to secure meaningful, integrated employment for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Supporting a new site benefitting tribal communities, the grant will allow Project SEARCH to identify partner organizations to collaborate on the transition-to-work program, implement the new site, and track outcomes in the first year of operations to map long-term success. The grant is part of the MolinaCares for Families initiative, in which MolinaCares committed over $400,000 to programs that improve access to care for families in New Mexico.
While employment is a concern across New Mexico, tribal communities are disproportionally affected. According to a report by the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, 47.6% of tribal populations in New Mexico participate in the labor force, compared to 58.5% throughout the rest of the state. For those with disabilities, scarce job training and employment options result in even lower rates of employment.
“The goal of The MolinaCares Accord is to build stronger communities by making an impact in key areas that affect people’s health and lives, such as job opportunities,” said Carolyn Ingram, plan president of Molina Healthcare of New Mexico. “Individuals with disabilities face higher rates of unemployment, especially those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We are proud to partner with Project SEARCH to connect New Mexicans to valuable trainings and resources that equip them for the workforce.”
Using a proven and innovative model of real-life work experience, training, and independent living skills, Project SEARCH prepares young adults with disabilities for competitive employment opportunities. Program participants work in internships for nine months to explore career options, train in various workplace environments, and prepare for entry into the workforce. Collaborating with schools, local organizations, and local employers, Project SEARCH empowers participants to find sustaining careers that match their interests and job skills.
“Project SEARCH is thrilled to expand in New Mexico with the help of this MolinaCares grant,” said Erin Riehle, co-founder and director of Project SEARCH. “By creating a new program site, we will be able to reach more young adults with disabilities and empower them to enter the workforce and confidently retain meaningful employment. We are grateful to MolinaCares for their partnership and support as we work to increase equity in employment for all New Mexicans.”
To learn more about Project SEARCH or find more information on how local companies can sponsor internship programs, visit the Project SEARCH website.
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About The MolinaCares Accord:
Established by Molina Healthcare, Inc., The MolinaCares Accord oversees a community investment platform created to improve the health and well-being of disadvantaged populations by funding meaningful, measurable, and innovative programs and solutions that improve health, life, and living in local communities. The MolinaCares Accord funds such measures through The Molina Healthcare Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)(3) established in 2020 by Molina Healthcare, Inc.
About Molina Healthcare of New Mexico:
Molina Healthcare of New Mexico has been providing government-funded, quality health care since 1998. The Company serves members through Medicare and Health Insurance Marketplace programs throughout New Mexico. Through its locally operated health plans, Molina Healthcare, Inc., a FORTUNE 500 company, served approximately 5.2 million members as of September 30, 2022. For more information about Molina Healthcare of New Mexico, visit MolinaHealthcare.com.
About Project SEARCH:
The Project SEARCH model was developed at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is currently in operation at 707 program sites in the U.S. and around the world and has served approximately 38,000 young adults with disabilities since 2010. An estimated 70% of program graduates achieve competitive, integrated employment, earning at least the minimum wage and working at least 16 hours per week.