April 23, 2018
SACRAMENTO, CA–Eskaton, a nonprofit community-based organization serving seniors in the Greater Sacramento area for 50 years, is teaming up with a number of workforce development organizations to help train people with disabilities.
Project visionaries, Dr. Lou Vismara, M.D. and Michael Bernick, Esq., invited Eskaton to spearhead this endeavor. Other organizations involved in this project include the California Conservation Corps, CCC Foundation, Pride Industries and Alta California Regional Center.
“Offering workforce development opportunities aims to introduce people living with special abilities into the workforce,” said Kim Rhinehelder, Eskaton vp of communications and philanthropy. “Eskaton’s workforce development involves young adults living with autism. This teaches job skills and provides socialization, mentoring and intergenerational activities.”
The senior care industry as a whole is challenged to hire and keep skilled labor, and within the next few decades will need two million new workers in the United States. Eskaton is helping to train new workers in Northern California.
Youth with developmental disabilities face one of the highest rates of unemployment and underemployment in California. Unemployment for individuals with autism is over 90%. Additionally, 85% of adults with autism live with parents/family, have a high incidence of anxiety and/or depression and lack social skills. Eskaton is filling a need by offering training opportunities for developmentally disabled individuals with a broad spectrum of functional abilities and talents.
“We are pleased to serve as a catalyst to ignite the potential of those living with special abilities,” concluded Rhinehelder. “The layers of solutions offered by these opportunities, along with societal impacts, inspire our organization and aim to serve as an example for others.”
Eskaton’s attention to workforce development and special abilities training has encouraged other organizations to take action. The California Community College system may explore the possibility of establishing a vocational training curriculum and certification program, while California Conservation Corps has interest in vocational training and career advancement opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities and other special needs.