SBVC Partners with The Uniquely Abled Project for Special Job Training

Through recent funding from Goodwill of Southern California, multiple partners and organizations have come together at San Bernardino Valley College to offer new soft skills training and job placement services. Students on the autism spectrum are now able to connect with jobs and training through partnerships, workshops, services, and classes at SBVC. 
 
Ivan Rosenberg, founder and President of The Uniquely Abled Project, said the campus is showing strong initiative to support a population not typically well served by community colleges.  
“You’re taking kids that don’t have jobs, you’re turning them into people with great productive jobs the community needs,” he said. “That’s a good thing for a community college to do in terms of enhancing its reputation with the community.” 
 
Rosenberg also finds personal fulfillment from this project as two of his own children are on the autism spectrum. Both children, now grown at 21 and 23 years old, have attended community college with one set to graduate in June. The other landed a great job with a major company testing software. “I’ve never treated my kids as disabled and I’m stunned at what they’ve been able to accomplish,” Rosenberg said. 
 
Parents have responded enthusiastically to their programming. In 16 weeks, generally the length of the program, participants make great progress. Students on the autism spectrum are physically able and have above-average intelligence, he adds, but still represents up to 90% unemployment. “We can take somebody who has been playing video games in their bedroom and by the end of the program, with high probability, we have nearly 100% placement,” he said. “They end up with a well-paying career job.” 
 
Mostly, workers with autism land employment at $15 an hour entry-level, and more experienced workers can earn $20 and over. With a couple of years of experience, there are many options and opportunities. Rosenberg, who specializes in aerospace and defense manufacturing, said that his train the trainer workshops in workforce development has taken off at a national scale. The idea is to get clients with disabilities into careers instead of pushing them toward retail jobs, which may not be the best use of their talents. One aspect of his workforce development training is targeting jobs that don’t require prior training, such as highly repetitive work. For jobs that require prior training, Uniquely Abled Academy helps pair up disabled workers with unique abilities to match in-demand jobs. 
 
CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) machine operator offers a lot of potential opportunities, which can utilize high functioning autistics, he said. CNC is a manufacturing machine that cuts metal for automotive and airplane parts.