End of an era: CCS work center closes

December 2014 Posted in Community

By Brenna Wiegand

Catholic Community Services recently closed Mount Angel Work Activity Center and has established new programs to serve the customers who worked there.

Catholic Community Services has operated site-based sheltered employment for persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities since the early 1990s with the goal of transitioning its workers or clients into jobs from inside its walls to jobs in the community.

“Unfortunately this approach has been difficult to implement,” CCS Executive Director Jim Seymour said. “What happens in reality is that most adults with intellectual disabilities continue to work year after year in the sheltered workshop setting with few opportunities to move into community-based supportive employment.”

“We have an entire team of people that work diligently to connect our clients with employment opportunities and support them through the process,” Elizabeth Schrader of CCS said. “Many of these people should no longer be in sheltered workshops. We advocate for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities so they can live rich, full lives.”

By developing partnerships with other agencies that provide sheltered workshop programs, Seymour said, CCS is able to shift resources to community-based employment.

The organization closed its Work Options vocational site in Salem in August, the Mount Angel work activity center in October and in December will close Mount Angel-based Esch Practical Approaches to Autism. It has established two new programs, CCS Supported Employment and CCS Vocational Alternatives to serve adults with intellectual or development disabilities seeking community-based employment.

“We are pleased to report that since these closures, 90 percent of customers have already been able to find placement within our new programs or with another provider agency,” Seymour said. “We are dedicating additional staff time and resources to ensure that all customers have a safe landing.”

To date, 11 have joined CCS’s Supported Employment program, 29 have transferred to Vocational Alternatives and 41 have entered programs at other provider agencies or enrolled in supported employment services through Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Services. CCS is working with Marion and Clackamas County Community Development Disabilities programs and Integrated Services Network Brokerage to find placement for nine others.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.