VENTURA – Officials are recruiting participants for one of three pilot programs in the state that is under way in Ventura County to help young people with disabilities find jobs and higher education. It’s called the Improving Transition Opportunities for Youth with Disabilities Project and is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. “The program focuses on assuring that academic excellence, career development, youth development and support, and youth leadership are available to youth with disabilities,” said Elaine Crandall, executive director of the Workforce Investment Board of Ventura County, one of the sponsors of the program. The program is administered by Work Training Programs Inc. at the Workforce Administration Board. To aid participants, case managers match job tasks with the skills and interests of the young people and help employers accommodate them in the workplace. The same program is being conducted in San Francisco and Shasta counties. There are about 120 participants in each area, and Ventura County officials are still recruiting to meet that number. The program also connects young people to peer and adult mentors with and without disabilities, helps with tutoring and transportation, and connects the young people to work experience and employment opportunities. Irit Drori, who works with the Ventura program, said the five-year pilot effort is at the end of year two. It serves people from 16 to 24 with disabilities throughout Ventura County by finding jobs for them or helping them meet their education goals. The participants have a wide variety of challenges, including physical and mental disabilities and learning disorders. “For example, I have a client with multiple disabilities who had been injured in a car accident,” said Drori. “She’s 21, and we helped her get a job in customer service at a department store and helped her enroll in classes at Ventura College, including fundamentals of acting to overcome her fear of public speaking.” “We had an 18-year-old high school graduate with depression who got a clerical internship with Ventura County government, which turned into a part-time job. She also enrolled at Ventura College, and her dream job is to be a chef or a doctor.” The Workforce Administration Board oversees work force development in the county by integrating employment, training, education, and business services for job seekers, workers and employers. Its annual budget of more than $7 million helps create and fund programs that help youths and adults train for available jobs and help employers create new jobs and upward mobility for workers. Eric Leach, (805) 583-7602 [email protected] FYI: Youths who have disabilities and who are interested in participating can contact Irit Drori with Work Training Programs Inc. at (805) 498-8068, Ext. 108, or at [email protected] For information about the Workforce Investment Board and One-Stop Job and Career Center services, call (805) 652-7684 or visit www.wib.ventura.org. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!