Beacons PathFinder Program
Real life pathways need real life training!
Here at Beacons, we believe that everyone should be able to be lifelong learners to develop their skills and follow their passion! PathFinder helps our trainees do this!
Per the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability, structured postsecondary instruction can dramatically improve the employability of those with developmental disabilities (see also the list of successful supports summarized by the Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy). Most educational institutions are not able to provide special educational models of vocational instruction or instruction that uses small ratios and adapted pacing because of funding constraints, staffing costs or space limitations. Our spring and fall workshops are capped at 10 with a small ratio of 10:3. Our summer workshops are capped at 13 with a 13:4 ratio. Beacons instructional settings include simulated or community instructional settings, assistive technology and much more to optimize learning, build peer relationships and more! Visit PathFinder's session pages to lear more about the options (Spring, Fall, Summer).
In 2019, with the help of a grant from the National Foundation for Autism Research (NFAR), Beacons opened its doors to launch vocational workshops that are curriculum supported, assistive technology rich, progress monitored and outcome driven. As a result of the significant improvement in both skills and knowledge shown in our pilot, the San Diego Regional Center approved Beacons, Inc. as a state funded vendor to join its efforts to build bridges to the workforce.
PathFinder is a "hands-on, learn-by-experience" (and fun!) type of place. Please browse our website to learn more!
Programming is designed for those with mild/moderate intellectual/developmental disabilities. Beacons, Inc. does not currently have sufficient staffing to support participants with a history of elopement, bullying, disruptive behaviors, self injurious behaviors or behaviors that are likely to injure others, or who have medical or other issues that require 1:1 assistance or monitoring. While we hope to expand programming options as we build our resources to serve all persons with developmental disabilities, the Pathfinder vocational training programs are not designed for those with a history of the above items at this time. Please contact us at BeaconsNorthCounty@gmail.com if additional support is needed, but can be provided through agency or caregiver support.
EMPLOYMENT FIRST POLICY
"It is the policy of the state that opportunities for integrated employment shall be the highest priority for working age individuals with developmental disabilities regardless of the severity of their disabilities." WIC Sect. 4869(a)(1)
WHY POSTSECONDARY WORKSHOPS?
In 2013, California enacted an Employment First Policy to make employment of those with developmental disabilities one of the state's highest priorities. Since 2014, the employment rate of those with developmental disabilities rose to approximately 27% in 2019 throughout the state. However, per data from the CA Department of Developmental Services, only around 13.96% of individuals who are San Diego regional center clients are employed in the San Diego area, which is 13% below the already low state and national employment averages. For women, employment rates are closer to 12%, and for those on the spectrum, unemployment can be as low as 10%.
The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability found that some of the important "guideposts" for improving outcomes for individuals with disabilities are: 1. "structured exposure to postsecondary education and other life-long learning opportunities," and 2. "training designed to improve job-seeking skills and work-place basic skills." Studies have shown that individuals with developmental disabilities who participate in postsecondary education reap significantly enhanced access to employment, with some studies showing an almost 50% increase in employment and up to a 57% increase in earnings.* Yet despite the demonstrated impact of postsecondary education on employment outcomes for individuals with developmental disabilities, very few structured employment-related postsecondary vocational training options exist in North County San Diego.
Beacons, Inc. is leading the charge in North County to offer outcome-driven, curriculum based postsecondary workforce workshops that are progress monitored, structured, low ratio and accessible to those in need of smaller settings, more individualized pacing, and assistive technology.
All programming follows the Universal Design Guidelines and integrates assistive technology and hands-on exploration to optimize teaching and learning. Programming is guided by the dedication of the families who founded Beacons, Inc., but driven by the needs and interests of the individuals who seek empowerment in their daily lives. Join us today to help build a pathway for tomorrow!
*See, e.g., Migliore, Butterworth & Hart (2009). See also Smith, Grigal & Shepard (2018) (63.7% of youth with ID who received postsecondary education had paid integrated employment upon exiting with weekly earnings averaging $302, versus $200 for those who did not have postsecondary education).