Transition Services

Project SEARCH

The Project SEARCH program is a collaborative effort involving businesses, educational institutions, Vocational Rehabilitation agencies, and service providers. Its primary objective is to offer young adults with developmental disabilities the chance to participate in onsite internships that can eventually lead to competitive employment.

The program follows a specific framework to ensure its effectiveness. The internships are carefully designed to meet the needs of both the business and the students. The aim is to provide students with valuable skills that are marketable and can be transferred to other employment opportunities in the community.

There are several benefits for students who participate in the Project SEARCH program. Firstly, it offers post-secondary training and internship experiences at no cost to the students or their families. Secondly, the program provides a platform for students to work in real organizations, giving them exposure to a professional work environment and allowing them to acquire employable skills.

One of the strengths of the Project SEARCH program is that it focuses on individual student strengths. By identifying and leveraging their abilities, the program aims to help students develop the necessary skills for independence. This includes areas such as employability skills (e.g., resume writing, interviewing), transportation skills, and daily living skills (e.g., time management, problem-solving).

Overall, the Project SEARCH program is designed to support young adults with developmental disabilities gain valuable work experience, develop marketable skills, and ultimately achieve competitive employment in their communities.

  • Student in a participating school district (ABSS, DPS, OCS) who is in their last year of school and has completed all academic requirements for either a H.S. diploma or Certificate of Completion
  • Aged 18- 22 years old.
  • Be eligible to receive VR services.
  • Interested in obtaining competitive employment after completion of the program.
  • Managed Care Organization (Vaya Health, Alliance Behavioral Health)- Ensures a vocational service provider is available to provide long-term follow-along job services as needed, and within available funding, for students obtaining employment after graduating from Project SEARCH
  • Local Business (Alamance Regional Medical Center, Duke Regional Hospital, UNC-CH Adams School of Dentistry) – Provides internship sites to teach core skills of the business and a liaison to coordinate the program.
  • School System (Alamance-Burlington School System, Durham Public Schools, Orange County Schools)- Provides an instructor, class curriculum, and recruitment of appropriate student participants.
  • North Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation – Provides individualized career counseling and guidance for eligible participants. Vocational planning and support may include job coaching and placement.
  • OE Enterprises, Inc.- Provides job coaching, competitive placement in the community, and support for eligible individuals who secure a job.
    Project SEARCH National- Provides guidance to ensure the local program meets fidelity
Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS)

OE Enterprises has partnered with the NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) to deliver Pre-ETS services through the Transition for Success (T4S) program. The goal of this program is to increase vocational skills, develop clear career planning, and improve access to integrated community-based options, with the goal of better-quality employment outcomes. This program runs during the traditional school day.

Lessons focus on:
  • Job exploration counseling
  • Work-based learning experiences
  • Self-advocacy training
  • Workplace readiness training
  • Counseling on postsecondary education and training options
Delivery of Services:
  • A trained OE Transition Coach delivers lessons and leads activities within the school setting.
  • Whole class activities
  • Small group activities
  • 1:1 activities
  • Transition Coach may also work with students at assigned worksites
  • In the Community- Community-Based Training sites working on real-world employment skills
  • In the School- School-based jobs, School-based Enterprises learn transferable skills to later take into the community
  • A Student in a participating school district
  • Aged 14- 21 years old
  • With a documented disability
  • Eligible to receive services from Vocational Rehabilitation (Do not need to be a VR client)
  • Current School Systems Participating: **Want to add a map and some stats here
  • Alamance-Burlington School System
  • Orange County Schools
  • Chatham County Schools
  • Durham Public Schools
  • Various charter schools
Admission Criteria
  • Meet OE Enterprises admission standards
  • Referral by Vocational Rehabilitation

Amy Miller is a CEO widely respected for her unwavering advocacy for persons with disabilities. Her passion for this cause was ignited in middle school after reading the inspiring story of Helen Keller and her teacher, Anne Sullivan, which led to her active involvement with the Special Olympics. After teaching in a public setting for two decades following her degree in Special Education, Amy felt the calling to make a more significant impact on persons with disabilities and their families, which led her to join OE Enterprises.

At OE, Amy led the design and implementation of Pre-Employment Transition Services for students with disabilities aged 14-21. Through the Transition-4-Success and Project SEARCH programs, OE was able to positively impact outcomes for students in four school districts. Her leadership skills and expertise saw her later take on overseeing employment services and facility-based services.

Amy is an alumna of East Carolina University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education. She has since earned additional certifications in Principals of Leading Transformational Nonprofits from Notre Dame and Work Incentive Practitioner from Cornell University. Amy also attended the Leadership Institute through Impact Alamance and has continued to maintain her K-12 Special Education license.

In her leisure time, Amy cherishes spending time with her husband and three beautiful children.

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James Flowers has been an integral part of OE Enterprises since 2008. As the Service Contract Director, he is responsible for overseeing various contracts, ranging from custodial to ground maintenance. Through the SourceAmerica and Abilityone contracts, James heads up twelve sites, including federal courthouses, the FAA in Charlotte and Fayetteville, CMOP, NIEHS, and the USDA in Raleigh. His dedication and expertise have made him an invaluable asset to the team.

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Donna grew up in rural Sampson County NC and attended UNC Chapel Hill, earning degrees in Psychology and Anthropology.
During College she participated in a work/study program at a new and different type of organization, the Orange County Work Activity Center, in Hillsborough. Donna loved the challenge of working with this organization to gain its first Vocational Rehabilitation contract, and advocating for individuals who have a disability. Most importantly she learned so much from the people served! She was hooked during that summer and has made this her life's work and passion. The Orange County Work Activity Center has had a long history with a lot of growth and changes and is now known as OE Enterprises.
Donna raised her sons in Hillsborough. This included advocacy for her son who has a developmental disability in the school system and community. She has served in a variety of professional and local organizations including NCAPSE, NCARF, Garden Club, and Transportation Committee and the Arts Council.
She currently lives in Chapel Hill. In her free time, she enjoys friends and family, nature trails, kayaking, gardening, and creating art quilts and fused glass items.

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Michael Parker has served on the OE Enterprises Board since 2019.
Michael has a long history of service on not-for-profit boards. While in Chapel Hill he has served on the boards of the ArtsCenter, the Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill, and the Friends of the Downtown. Prior to moving to Chapel Hill, he was vice chair of the United Nations International School and president of CIDNY Independent Living Services, both in New York.
Mr. Parker is currently completing his second term as a member of the Chapel Hill Town Council.
Currently retired, Michael spent most of his career working with and consulting to a variety of health care organizations. Early in his career his work focused on non-profit hospitals, particularly those serving disadvantaged communities, and academic medical centers. Subsequently, he worked with pharmaceutical companies and smaller, entrepreneurial biotechs. Most recently was a Managing Partner with BioAsset Advisors.

He received a BA in Biology from SUNY Buffalo, attended graduate school in neurobiology at UNC Chapel Hill, and received an MBA in health care administration from Baruch College, where he was awarded a Walter Heller Fellowship.
Parker lives in downtown Chapel Hill with his wife Linda Prager, a ceramic artist, jewelry maker, and singer.

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Joe is the father of two girls, one a nurse and one a high school science teacher. He has been married to June since 1990. Joe has worked at OE Enterprises since 2006. He worked as an Environmental Chemist at CompuChem in RTP, NC and as Site Director at before starting work at OE. Joe started as a Job Coach, working in the community with the individuals OE served. He also served as a Job Developer, Vocational Evaluator with mostly high school seniors, Program Manager at both Burlington and Hillsborough facilities and helped start OE's custodial business, Carolina Cleaning Associates with a federal grant from the Obama administration. He now serves as Director of Business Development and Strategy and works to find new business opportunities for OE, as well as assist with our federal contracts through the AbilityOne program. Joe is also a volunteer firefighter and EMT, currently serving as Assistant Chief at Caldwell Fire Department.

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Audra, a native of North Carolina, grew up in Durham and attended North Carolina Central University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration, specializing in Accounting. With over 20 years of financial experience, Audra has held various roles throughout her career.

She started as a Staff Accountant with a startup organization immediately after college and eventually progressed to the position of Accounting Manager. Later on, Audra transitioned to becoming a Controller at a manufacturing facility, where she worked for many years. Her extensive experience in financial management and accounting makes her a valuable asset to any organization.

Outside of her professional life, Audra is actively involved in her community. She dedicates her time to assisting the elderly and homeless, demonstrating her compassion and commitment to helping those in need. Additionally, she has a passion for travel, enjoys participating in exercise classes, and loves attending basketball games.

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Tracey Craven earned her BA in psychology from UNC-Greensboro.  She began her career with OE
Enterprises in 1994.  She has worked in various roles, ranging in responsibilities from direct support professional (DSP) to Employment Director, and now works in organizational development.  Tracey is a Certified Employment Supports Professional (CESP) and is certified through Cornell University as a Work Incentives Practitioner (WIP-C).  She is the current VP of the NC Chapter of the Association of Persons Supporting EmploymentFirst and is on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Association of Rehabilitation Facilities.  She is a Senate Pro Tempore appointed member of the State Rehabilitation Council and is involved in various state-level stakeholder workgroups, including the DVR/CRP steering committee.   Tracey grew up in Orange County, but now lives with her spouse and four children in Alamance County.  Her oldest daughter has a rare genetic condition and Intellectual Disability and is on the NC Innovations Waiver.  Her youngest daughter has Down syndrome and is currently on the Registry of Unmet Needs. She also has two sons who are neurotypical.  Tracey believes that all individuals have the right to choose how and where they work.

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Sultan has lived in three different continents and brings with him rich human and cultural experiences. He is driven to help humanity through endeavors that positively impact us all.

By profession, Sultan is a Certified Public Accountant and attained his degree in accounting at Lehigh University. He has over 20 years of experience as an Accounting and Finance professional with extensive experience in multiple industries including pharmaceutical, healthcare, services, and manufacturing. Skilled in implementing change management, accounting best practices, system upgrades, and financial controls. Highly organized relationship builder with process improvement skills. He enjoys coaching team members both professionally and personally.

Sultan has been involved with OE since 2014 as an accounting consultant and eventually was voted in as a Board Member in 2015. He was the Board Chair between 2019-2022.

During his free time, he coaches and captains two recreational soccer teams. He has two teenage daughters that also keep him busy.

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Ingrid Conley is the mother of triplets in their early twenties, 2 of whom are diagnosed on the autism spectrum.  Ingrid has been very active in the local disability community since her family relocated to NC 15 years ago from NY including being active with the NC Autism Society as an officer for the Orange County chapter, was a founding member of the Voyage Academy Exceptional Children Parent Organization (EXPO) as well as Orange County Special Education Parent Teacher Association (SEPTA) and is currently a member of the Creative Civitan Club in Durham.

While now enjoying a career as a residential real estate professional, Ingrid left her career as an Executive Director at JPMorgan in 2018 after running a global back office operations team in the investment bank.  Joining the OE Board has allowed Ingrid to share her process management and creative problem solving skills while also bringing her parent perspective from years of interactions with other parents who graciously shared resources, tips & tricks and provided nonjudgmental support.

Ingrid lives in Durham with her husband, daughters and 2 dogs.  Family adventures within the community and to any beach are always a fun way to spend free time.

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Murphy Faber previously worked as a public-school teacher for five years with students with disabilities before coming to OE in July of 2019. She moved from the classroom into this work to be part of helping students with disabilities transition from school into adulthood whether choosing postsecondary school or work. One of Murphy’s greatest joys is seeing when something clicks with her students, and they suddenly understand a concept on which they have been working. Creating partnerships with students, their guardians, teachers, community members, and other agencies is a goal that she continues to work towards, so that students continue to achieve what they truly desire out of life.

Murphy considers herself a true North Carolinian since residing here the longest after moving around as a military child. She is a proud graduate of East Carolina University, Go Pirates! In her personal time, she enjoys baking, listening to audio books, and spending time with her family.

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Meet Tonya Johnson, a proud mother of three daughters who hail from UNC and NC HBCU’s. Originally from the Mid-West, Tonya and her family moved to North Carolina 17 years ago and has been actively involved in non-profit organizations for over a decade. Her passion for community connection and meaningfulness led her to be of service to others. Currently, Tonya has been working at OE Enterprises for 5 years and as the Director of Human Resources for the past 2 years.

As part of the senior leadership team, Tonya provides her expertise in human resource management, finance, and programmatic support to OE Enterprises. She also has previous experience serving as a leader on local board groups. Recently, Tonya held the role of Treasurer for Durham Crisis Response Center in Durham NC.

Tonya holds a Masters Business Administration in Accounting and has completed a certificate program from Leadership Institute, Impact Alamance, from 2022-2023. When she's not working, Tonya enjoys traveling, spending time with her family, attending community events, and exploring live music and art shows. She currently resides in Raleigh NC with her partner and is always ready for an adventure or checking out cool art at the nearest museum.

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Kevin W. Cain, M.B.A., Ph.D., is the founding Senior Associate Dean at High Point University's Workman School of Dental Medicine and Chief Operating Officer of HPU Health, the nation's first Academic Oral Health Network. Previously, he was the Executive Vice Dean, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and a Lecturer at the University of North Carolina Adams School of Dentistry, where his initiatives included the first oral healthcare site for Project SEARCH in the nation. Before UNC, he was a business professor specializing in strategy and entrepreneurship at the Augusta University James M. Hull College of Business and a guest lecturer in the Dental College of Georgia. His academic research and practitioner insights are published in the Journal of Dental Education, the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research, DentistryIQ/Apex360, Bloomberg Business, and the Wall Street Journal. He earned a Ph.D. in Business Administration with a Strategic Management concentration and Organizational Behavior minor from the University of Georgia Terry College of Business, an M.B.A. from Wake Forest University, an A.B. in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and holds a Certified Management Accountant designation.

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Lionel Phillips is a highly skilled IT professional with a wealth of experience in cybersecurity and technical service delivery. He has a strong background in risk management and a passion for data security, which he has developed through various positions in the technology sector over the last 20 years.

As the Senior Manager of IT at Shattuck Labs, Lionel manages a 24/7 enterprise service model with efficiency and excellence. He is responsible for creating and updating the IT Architecture Plan and Strategic Roadmap, as well as leading improvement and innovation projects. Lionel also excels at designing and securing cloud-based systems against cyberattacks, ensuring compliance with regulatory standards and internal security policies.

Lionel's role as a Senior Manager of IT at Shattuck Labs reflects his competence in handling complex enterprise service models. He uses his expertise to build robust IT architectures and strategic roadmaps. Lionel's career started with practical roles in the military, especially as a Special Operations Communicator in the US Special Operations Command. His devotion to mission readiness, innovative tactical systems, and effective communication strategies in challenging situations show his commitment to excellence.

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Charlie Cleary serves as the President of OE’s Board of Directors. He has been an active member of the OE Community through his support of his daughter, a client of OE for over 20 years. Previously Mr. Cleary served on the Board of the North Carolina Society for Autistic Adults and Children. He also worked in various capacities with many other organizations providing support to individuals with disabilities. For the past five years, Mr. Cleary has been the Director of Tarheel Boys State. He is retired from Varian Associates of Palo Alto, Ca.

Mr. Cleary will be working closely with OE’s board to advocate, serve, and support OE Enterprises and their clients.

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