McLaren Oakland, Project SEARCH, and Clarkston Community Schools team up to open a student site at McLaren Clarkston

McLaren Oakland, part of McLaren Health Care and providing care to the entirety of Oakland County through its network of medical campuses—including McLaren Clarkston—has partnered with Clarkston Community Schools and has provided McLaren Clarkston as a site to host participants of Project SEARCH.

Project SEARCH is a nationwide initiative dedicated to providing young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities with additional training and education in professional environments following their completion of school. Participants of Project SEARCH will perform various non-clinical duties and assist the staff within the medical office building at McLaren Clarkston.

“When we were first approached about this partnership, and we learned more about Project SEARCH and its mission, I was immediately inspired and was proud to have been asked to be a part of it,” said Tracey Franovich, McLaren Oakland President and CEO. “We’re thrilled to have this first class at McLaren Clarkston, and the staff will surely enjoy their presence and welcome their contributions.”

A nine-month, internship-style program for 18- to 26-year-olds, the aim is to provide its students with skills that will help them obtain competitive employment upon completion.

At McLaren Clarkston, students will be working with the staffs in the emergency department, breast center, diagnostic imaging department, and physical therapy, assisting in a variety of responsibilities, including greeting and directing patients, office work, contacting patients about appointment reminders, rounding on patients for comfort, along with other duties.

With sites in health care, government, and business, participants are exposed to a variety of career paths and can immerse themselves in these workplaces in order to become familiar with them. Department managers at the internship sites work with the dedicated Project SEARCH special education teacher, support staff, and job coaches to provide guidance, accommodations, and support to improve the student on-site job performance. Students receive continual feedback from the internship manager, co-workers, and Project SEARCH staff, completing each day with group reflection, problem-solving, planning, and journaling their key learnings.

“I am thrilled to collaborate with McLaren Oakland and Clarkston Community Schools,” said Sarah Winslow, Statewide Project SEARCH director. “All of the partners have worked diligently to make this program a reality, and I know it’s going to be a win-win for both the interns and the hospital.”

While this is the organization’s first partner in Clarkston, Project SEARCH has multiple partnerships and opportunities for its students in Oakland County and throughout the Metro Detroit area. For this 2-23-2024 school year, Project SEARCH’s partnerships have provided its students with 17 sites throughout the state.

Started in 1996 at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to serve the facility’s employees with developmental disabilities, furthering their training with complex and systematic tasks. The program has since expanded across the country with more than 730 host sites in 48 states.

Learn more about all of the services available at McLaren Clarkston at and McLaren Oakland at

To learn more about Project SEARCH, its mission, and successes across the country, visit

More information on Clarkston Community Schools can be found at

About McLaren Clarkston
McLaren Clarkston represents the largest ground-up development in the history of the corporation. The $600 million health care village project, located on 95 acres of prime real estate in northern Oakland County, is being developed in two phases. Phase I opened in May 2009 and includes a 138,000 sq. ft. Medical Office Building, a 42,000 sq. ft. freestanding cancer center and a 5-acre Garden of Healing and Renewal. Learn more at

About McLaren Oakland
McLaren Oakland is a 318-bed hospital that provides primary and specialty healthcare services to the greater Pontiac and Oakland County, Michigan communities. Founded in 1953, McLaren Oakland has grown to a comprehensive medical community that includes outpatient facilities in Clarkston and Oxford, in addition to an inpatient hospital in Pontiac providing a range of clinical services including emergency and trauma care, cardiology, cancer services, minimally invasive robotic surgery, and orthopedic services. McLaren Oakland offers ACGME accredited residency and fellowship programs in anesthesiology, diagnostic radiology, emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, orthopedic surgery, otolaryngology, pulmonary disease and critical care medicine, and transitional year, in addition to a CPME accredited podiatry program. Learn more at

About McLaren Health Care
McLaren Health Care, headquartered in Grand Blanc, Michigan, is a $6.6 billion, fully integrated health care delivery system committed to quality, evidence-based patient care and cost efficiency. The McLaren system includes 13 hospitals in Michigan, ambulatory surgery centers, imaging centers, a 490-member employed primary and specialty care physician network, commercial and Medicaid HMOs covering more than 732,838 lives in Michigan and Indiana, home health, infusion and hospice providers, pharmacy services, a clinical laboratory network and a wholly owned medical malpractice insurance company. McLaren operates Michigan’s largest network of cancer centers and providers, anchored by the Karmanos Cancer Institute, one of only 54 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the U.S. McLaren has 28,000 full-, part-time and contracted employees and more than 113,000 network providers throughout Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. Learn more at