About Us


About Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH, based in Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, was created to provide job training for individuals with developmental disabilities.  The Project SEARCH model involves an extensive period of skills training and career exploration, innovative adaptations, long-term job coaching, and continuous feedback from teachers, skills trainers, and employers. As a result, at the completion of the training program, students with significant intellectual disabilities are employed in nontraditional, complex and rewarding jobs. In addition, the presence of a Project SEARCH program can bring about long-term changes in business culture that have far-reaching positive effects on attitudes about hiring people with disabilities and the range of jobs in which they can be successful.

Meet Karen Barnes


Karen Barnes started as the Statewide Project SEARCH Coordinator in August 2023. She has over 20 years of experience working in education as a classroom teacher, reading specialist and administrator.  She strongly advocates for the rights and inclusion of those with disabilities, meaningful employment of the disabled community, and continues to seek ways to communicate effectively with the nonverbal population to maximize their potential. 

Mrs. Barnes reads current research and aims to keep abreast of strategies to enhance the lives of those with disabilities. She graduated with a BS in Elementary Education from Towson University, has both a Masters in Reading and Certificated in School Administration  from McDaniel College, and enrolled in doctoral studies at the University of Maryland College Park in the area of Reading.

She is actively involved in her children’s education and sports, volunteering as much as possible. Mrs. Barnes looks forward to improving and expanding the employment opportunities of the disability community ages 18-22 by working to support the Project SEARCH sites in our state. 

Project SEARCH Sites in Maryland

  • Howard County Government , Ellicott City, MD
    430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, MD, 21043

  • Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport, Linthicum Heights, MD
    1739 West Nursery Road, Linthicum Heights, MD, 21090

  • University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, MD
    22 S Greene St, Baltimore, MD, 21201

  • Neurodiversity at Work at Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore, MD
    1741 Ashland Avenue, Floor 8, Baltimore, MD, 21205

  • MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, Baltimore, MD
    201 East University Parkway, Baltimore, MD, 21218 

  • Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center, Annapolis, MD
    2001 Medical Parkway, Annapolis, MD, 21401

  • National Institutes of Health - National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Bethesda, MD
    10 Center Dr, Bethesda, MD, 20892

  • Montgomery County Government, Rockville, MD
    29 Courthouse Square, Rockville, MD, 20850

  • Joint Base Andrews, Andrews, MD
    1500 W. Perimeter Rd. Suite 2520, Andrews, MD, 20762, United States of America

  • Embassy Suites and Capitol Hilton, WASHINGTON, DC

    900 10th Street NW, WASHINGTON, DC, 20001, United States of America

  • University of MD- Baltimore

  • Atlantic General Hospital/ Worchester Co 

Statewide Advisory Group for Project SEARCH

Next Meeting Dates

  • February 8, 2024

  • April 10, 2024

  • March 11, 2024

  • November 6, 2024
  • December 11, 2024

Advisory Group Members

  • Jacob Ray
  • Nazlah Johnson Gunthrop
  • Nakia Singleton
  • Eugenia Ebb
  • Stacey Herman
  • Becca Colangelo
  • Tameka Harry
  • Rose Ansara
  • Megan Lebow
  • Suzanne Jayaraman
  • Lu Merrick
  • Rebecca VanGilder
  • Jessi Markum
  • Sherry Beamer

About Our Sponsors

MDOD is grateful for our state agency partners-Maryland Department of Labor, Maryland Department of Health Developmental Disabilities Administration, and Maryland State Department of Education Division of Rehabilitation Services-for their steadfast commitment and support of Project SEARCH and the idea of employment for people with disabilities.  Together we work to ensure Governor Moore’s commitment to leave no Marylander behind by connecting them to jobs. 

For more information on Project SEARCH

Contact: Karen Barnes, Project SEARCH Statewide Coordinator

Email: karen.barnes@maryland.gov

Phone: 443-801-3010