In a recent study by the OCASG, finding a career was the top concern for our membership.
The good news, is that this is a priority issue for the Orange County community and beyond. There are a number of programs in some stage of development. We would like to share a few of these with you.
- Workability I is funded by the California Department of Education and Department of Rehabilitation. These programs teach skills and help high school students with disabilities find internships and employment. You can find the Workability organization within your own schools. Be sure to include participation in your child’s Independent Education Program (IEP).
- Irvine Youth Employment Services is a skill developing and job search empowerment service for teens and young adults ages 15-25. Through workshops, resume building, mock interviews and job leads, we strive to equip teens and young adults for a successful job search.
- Youth Employment Service (YES) enables Orange County youth and young adults to secure and maintain meaningful employment. We offer programs that help young people improve their self-esteem, employability, career choices, financial/personal self-sufficiency, and quality of life.
- Working Wardrobes provides workforce readiness services in an atmosphere of dignity. Services include training, assistance with job placement, and career counseling.
For Community College Students:
- Workability III is a partnership between the State Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) and the Community College. WorkAbility III provides job placement and retention services to DOR-eligible students with disabilities who want to go to work. Programs will vary by colleges. For example, Santiago Canyon College offers certification programs (Contact Angela Guevara for more information.)
- Youth Services shown above are also available for Community College aged students.
For University and four-year College Students:
- Workability IV is a partnership between the State Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) and the College or University. WorkAbility IV provides job placement and retention services to DOR-eligible students with disabilities who want to go to work. Programs will vary by colleges. For example, CSUF offers assistance with internships and employment (Contact Francesca Chicas for more information.)
- Many of the youth services and Workability programs may be available to you. For example, high school Workability may offer services up to age 22 and the Community College Workability may not require fulltime enrollment in the Community College.
- Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) administers the largest vocational rehabilitation program in the country. They have a three-pronged mission to provide services and advocacy that assist people with disabilities to live independently, become employed and have equality in the communities in which they live and work. DOR provides consultation, counseling and vocational rehabilitation, and works with community partners to assist the consumers we serve.
Orange County Transition Initiative is a collaboration between Chapman University’s Thompson Policy Institute, Orange County Department of Education, The Regional Center of Orange County, and The Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Please keep an eye on this space as a new website is being developed to help connect families and individuals with resources.
Project Search is a program for helping individuals on the Autism Spectrum find careers through 11 month internships. For more information on Project Search contact Linda O’Neal. Participation is being coordinated through The Regional Center of Orange County.
Autism at Work is an initiative being actively pursued by companies such as Microsoft Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, and SAP. Richard Stein, previously an OCASG board member, was recently hired by Microsoft because of this project. OCASG will share information from Autism at Work as it is made available.