The Arc of Ventura County

Project Name: Community Action Network

Contact Information:
Lisa Emery Fisher
805-650-8611 Ext. 34
5103 Walker Street
Ventura, CA 93003

Project Goals

The ultimate goal of this service is to assist cognitively diverse young adults to transition from education to community employment. The student receives assistance to explore and plan for transition into the world of work.

Project Description

For many young adults (age 18 to 24) with intellectual and developmental disabilities, transition into meaningful and inclusive higher learning opportunities is limited. The purpose of the Community Action Network (CAN) project is to provide transition age youth an opportunity for a time limited, comprehensive, and inclusive post-secondary experience that includes educational, vocational, and social opportunities. At its core, this project integrates best practices, such as person-centered thinking and self determination, as the guiding principles and actions that assist individuals to achieve greater influence, independence, and control as they transition into adult life. This multi-disciplinary style and multi-learning approach meets the student where their strengths lie and accommodate barriers in a multitude of strategies.

This service is developed as an alternative to traditional day programs and designed to be used throughout the geographic area currently served by The Arc of Ventura County. Students are assessed during initial placement to identify individual learning styles, preferences, and level of supports needed for the student to be successful in an inclusive community and college setting. Students are reassessed each semester or biannually for progress as they have mastered each individual learning outcome, vocational, and/or personal goal.

At the community college, as well as in other various community settings, each student is supported to access a variety of academic, vocational training, and elective classes. Services and instruction are provided as appropriate and identified through the individual’s initial assessment, feedback from community college staff, Individual Education Plan (IEP), and Individual Service Plan (ISP) goals. Student support services also include social skills, activities of daily living, community and college expectations, and career exploration in regular and inclusive environments. Participation in campus clubs and activities, as well as community volunteer opportunities, is available. Students gain an understanding of social rules and etiquette that are interwoven into all activities in an effort to support the individual toward developing into a well rounded and healthy adult, including opportunity to explore values, make decisions, problem solve social behaviors, as well as lifestyle and sexuality issues.

Through vocational education, The Arc of Ventura County assists the students in the process of finding a career that coincides with their individual interests and talents, and matching personality assets to career characteristics. The students also receive training to research career choices and employment opportunities as well as matching vocational skills to career choices. An education/career plan consisting of goals and options and identifying educational opportunities available to attain career goals is developed for each student.