David Scott’s take on experience, inspiration, and meaning for special needs young people

W hat is success? For some, it’s lots of money. For many, it’s achieving goals and finding meaning. But what if you could build a more successful business while making a difference for others—and helping them make a difference?

That’s what David Scott, Director of Sales at Embassy Suite La Vista does. And at first, Project SEARCH was only meant to solve a simple problem: a high turnover rate in “starter” jobs, like cleaning and front desk operation.

What is Project SEARCH?

To solve the problem, Scott partnered with a special education program to get high-school kids with special needs on-the-job training in transferrable skills.

What’s so special about it?

The now-worldwide program has done an amazing thing. Just 30-40 percent of special-needs students get a job after high school.

But 75 percent of students who complete Project SEARCH find employment within one year. That’s the definition of impact.

What SEARCH teaches us

Sure, Scott’s program reduces turnover in his job sites and saves his companies money. But Scott says the program is also important because it shows that:

Those with special needs can inspire and make a difference. And they have real value to offer to their communities.

—David Scott

Of course, the proof is in the numbers—one Project SEARCH intern saved the bank he worked at $6 million by spotting an error!


The success of Scott’s program teaches us something larger: a diagnosis doesn’t mean we pass a person to a specialist and forget about them. We all need to care for them. “It’s natural to help people who need help,” Scott says. In so doing, those people grow—but so do our communities, our businesses, and our selves.

Scott says the SEARCH program teaches people to be open. Don’t think that a person with a disability can only do this. Because when you set the standards, they’ll blow you away. Raise your standards.

That advice can be applied elsewhere. Don’t limit yourself based on labels—you are greater than your circumstance.

Tune in to learn more about how making an impact and raising standards contribute to success. Then I want to hear your story. When were your standards blown out of the water by someone you underestimated? What did that experience teach you?

About David Scott

David Scott is the Director of Sales at the award-winning Embassy Suites by Hilton and Courtyard by Marriott, La Vista. Originally from Sydney, Australia, David has a BA from the University of Sydney and has worked in tourism and hospitality for over 30 years. He and his wife Theresa, moved to Omaha in 2002 following the events of September 11 to be closer to Theresa’s family. They have two children, Luke (9) and Sarah (7).

David first learned about Project SEARCH when his hotel became a host site in the 2012-13 School year. Since then they have hosted five classes and David chairs a Business Advisory Council to assist the students find meaningful employment. So far the students have achieved 97% employment since graduating. David has assisted in setting up host sites at Omaha Cabala’s and Omaha Children’s Hospital in addition to serving on the Nebraska State Rehab Council which supports Nebraska VR (Vocational Rehabilitation).

Marco LeRoc
Marco LeRoc

Marco LeRoc is a three-time author, an international speaker, an accountability partner and the founder of Marco LeRoc & Co.


  1. Fiona Eccles says:

    That’s my bro…literally…..we’ve always been very proud of David and what he’s accomplished. It would be nice to have him home back here in Australia though doing the same thing! Now there’s an idea for further expansion (see David I did watch your video!)

    See you soon…..

  2. Marco says:

    Fiona, I could not agree more. David is a great community leader who is making impact in many ways. I am glad I got to interview him and learn more about Project Search. we love him here in the US for now:)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *