Verdugo Job Center Awarded State Grant
Helping People with Disabilities Gain Job Training and Employment
The Verdugo Workforce Investment Board’s Job Center (VJC), which serves Burbank, Glendale and La Canada, was awarded a state grant of $166,6666 to help persons with disabilities find jobs and receive needed training to qualify for jobs. The grant aims to help people with physical, mental and/or learning disabilities.
The grant will also be used to raise local employer awareness about the values of employing people with disabilities. Employer Lunch ‘n Learns and mentoring will involve local business leaders, like The Campbell Center in Glendale, which worked successfully with the Verdugo Job Center to employ six persons with disabilities. The Campbell Center, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in Glendale in 2014, has a mission to provide developmentally disabled adults the opportunity-through residential, vocational and educational programs-to participate in mainstream community life and attain their highest levels of independence. They partnered with the VJC on an on-the-job training program in which employees’ salaries were subsidized for short terms by the VJC while they trained on the job for positions in assembly.
Says Louis Peters, The Campbell Center CFO, “Thanks to a grant which allowed subsidies for the hiring of disabled workers, the Campbell Center was able to start a second evening shift for our work center. Verdugo Job Center was instrumental in utilizing these subsidies to grow our work force and productivity.”
The unemployment rate of persons with disabilities is 13.2%, almost twice that of those without disabilities. The challenge of placing them is complicated by the fact that many are long-term unemployed, and lack in-demand basic computer and software skills. The VJC will address these problems by offering soft-skill employee training to job seekers, and providing some with free training in computer office skills like Microsoft Office Suite and QuickBooks. These are skills that many local employers have expressed as being important – particularly to small businesses that have only one or two people running their offices.
This grant was awarded by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) under its Disability Employment Accelerator Program. To locate job seekers in need of these services, the VJC will partner with the local EDD Office and the California Department of Rehabilitation as well as local high schools, community colleges, adult schools, NGOs and veteran groups.
To learn more about this program local employers and job seekers (who want to see if they are eligible) should contact the Verdugo Job Center at: (818) 409-0476.