Multnomah County launches internship program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

June 14, 2022

For immediate release: Tuesday, June 14, 2022 

Contact: Ryan Yambra,

Multnomah County has joined more than 600 domestic and international host businesses in providing employment readiness opportunities for people experiencing intellectual or developmental disabilities. 

Under a new partnership with Portland nonprofit Albertina Kerr, Multnomah County is launching a Project SEARCH internship at its downtown Five Oak Building this fall. The nine-month internship prepares young people and adults with disabilities for career success by helping them acquire competitive, applicable and marketable job skills.

“Multnomah County is thrilled to become a Project SEARCH partner,” said Alexis Alberti, who directs the County’s Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Division. “We’re committed to bridging the employment gap for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.” 

The unemployment rate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is more than twice the national average. According to Gallup, just 44% of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities ages 21-64 are in the labor force. Project SEARCH has an 85% success rate helping participants achieve competitive employment at prevailing wage.

Each Project SEARCH intern is assigned an on-site instructor and skills trainer. Interns complete three rotations in different host business environments. At the end of the program, interns also receive job search assistance.

To qualify, interns must be eligible to receive Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Services and State of Oregon Developmental Disabilities Services or Brokerage Services. Interns must also provide documentation showing they can legally work in the United States. 

Prospective interns are encouraged to register online for a virtual information session Wednesday, June 15, at 6 p.m. Multnomah County is also hosting an in-person informational session Thursday, July 7, at 10 a.m. Email for more information.

“This program is crucial for helping participants build independence, confidence and self-esteem,” Alberti said. “By the end of their internships, participants will gain fully transferable skills for competitive employment.”