Welcome to the Sonoran UCEDD


Project SEARCH Adds Two New Sites

We are thrilled to announce that Mayo Clinic has teamed with the Paradise Valley school district, and Banner Gateway Medical Center has teamed with Gilbert Public Schools to be the two newest Project SEARCH sites for fall of 2020!

"Mayo Clinic is proud to partner with our community to provide wonderful training and experiences to Project SEARCH interns," says Marcia Edwards, diversity recruitment specialist for Mayo Clinic in Arizona. "Partnering with Paradise Valley Unified School District has allowed us to select from a group of phenomenal students. The UArizona Sonoran UCEDD has been one of our great partners providing support toward the ultimate success of our program. We look forward to seeing the fruits of our labors with Project SEARCH as we learn and grow alongside our interns, broaden our recruiting pool and develop our inclusive culture." 

"Banner Health is excited to partner with Gilbert Public Schools, UArizona Sonoran UCEDD, and Vocational Rehab to bring Project Search to Maricopa County. As the largest healthcare system and employer in Arizona, we are committed to providing our diverse communities with equitable care, as well as opportunities to develop a pipeline of talent. By bringing Project Search to Maricopa County, we have been afforded the opportunity to foster individualized, on the job development for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities that focuses on training in employability and independent living skills. Through this program, we aim to assist in creating opportunities for our Project Search interns to have a successful transition into productive adult life." 

With the newest Project SEARCH sites coming onboard, we celebrate the increase for a total of 8 sites in Arizona. We will continue to reach out to schools and businesses across the state to develop new sites.

Expanding Project SEARCH sites gives students with intellectual or developmental disabilities the opportunity to complete an internship at a business, learn relevant, marketable skills and expand their employment options. Project Search AZ Logo

Project SEARCH Arizona is a transition-to-work program designed to help young people with significant disabilities make successful transitions to productive adult life. In 2018, Arizona interns had an average of 85 percent employment rate compared to the national employment rate of 77 percent.

Learn more about Project SEARCH.

Introducing a New Four-Year Collaborative Project: Career Pathways to Arizona's Future

Career Pathways to Arizona's Future Logo

The Sonoran UCEDD is pleased to announce a new four-year project funded by the Arizona Department of Economic Security, Division of Rehabilitation Services Administration. 

Wendy Parent-Johnson, PhD, director of the Sonoran UCEDD and Susan Voirol, program manager of Employment First and Transition Initiatives, received the multi-year, multi-million dollar for a project focused on improving post-school outcomes and employment rates of high school youth with disabilities.  

This will be done through the delivery of effective Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS).

The project, implemented in collaboration with vocational rehabilitation, schools, and adult service providers across the state, will respond to this need using a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach.

A Statement from the Sonoran UCEDD

The recent tragic murders and continual assault on Black lives has brought to the forefront what Black communities have known and experienced for generations in this country. Racism exists and is pervasive in the policies and practices of our institutions. The justified anger, frustration and pain has led to civil action across the nation and real potential for systemic change.

Together as staff, we reflected on the impact of these events on us personally and in the context of our work. We engaged in difficult conversations about structural racism and our responsibility as a Center to address racial injustice. We see this as an opportunity for us to do better. An opportunity for us to play an active role in creating meaningful and positive change at the individual and systemic level.

We acknowledge that many people with disabilities and their families are confronted with the realities of racism whether in their everyday interactions or their ability to access and receive quality services and supports. Among the disability community, people of color are disproportionately impacted in the criminal justice, education, health and other systems of care. As disability advocates, we recognize that racial justice is also disability justice.  

As an organization, we are committed to amplifying the voices of individuals from marginalized groups. We will tackle racial disparities through our programs and initiatives to impact service delivery practices, policies, and outcomes. We will partner with communities and engage people with lived experience to inform and monitor our work. We will hold ourselves accountable through on-going assessment and community feedback. We will continue to intentionally engage in self-reflection and open, honest discussions as an organization, to address systemic inequities.

We stand with Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other communities of color in the fight for racial equity. We recognize the strengths and resilience of these communities. We are ready to listen, learn and take action together to achieve real change and justice.

In solidarity,
Sonoran UCEDD Staff