Date of Award


Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Carolyn Van Noord

Second Advisor

Holly Grieves


Students with disabilities face social isolation, loneliness, mental health conditions, and unemployment rates at a disproportionately high rate compared to their typically developing peers (Choiseul-Praslin et al., 2019). Peer support programs and transition to work organizations have the ability to combat these factors. The following Doctoral Capstone Experience depicts the development and implementation of a peer-to-peer program within a transition to work program to increase social participation amongst transitional students with disabilities. The program was implemented at Project SEARCH at Corewell Health Beaumont Troy Hospital. Additionally, this project attempts to quantitatively qualify the effectiveness of the Project SEARCH program in developing work skills through the use of the Vocational Fitness (VicFit) assessment. Both of these objectives were utilized to broaden the effect of Project SEARCH in the community and within the hospital system. This population is often overlooked in the field of occupational therapy and this capstone serves to bring further awareness to the effect that OT can have in improving social skills and work skills in adults ages 18-26. The implications of the project were increased involvement in the Project SEARCH program from hospital employees, increased social skills of students, and evidence of increase in vocational skills.