LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge

Workforce Training For Adults with Disabilities

Adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) can face significant barriers to meaningful employment. To target this issue, ICAN's Workforce Training programs provides individuals with IDD, including youth 24 and under, opportunities to gain real life work experience and training while exploring their interests, such as in ICAN's Creative Studio where they make and sell handmade items. Meaningful, paid employment gives our clients the chance to improve their economic situation, gain valuable skills and move towards independence.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Income Inequality

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

South Bay

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Adults with IDD face significant barriers to meaningful employment. The April 2023 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Jobs Report showed that the labor force participation rate for people with disabilities ages 16-64 is 36.9%, in stark comparison to the 75% participation rate for people without disabilities. Furthermore, regardless of the setting in which they work, almost all adults with IDD are underemployed (i.e., not full-time and/or earning less than the minimum wage). Additionally, 73% of our clients' households are low-to-moderate income-but many more face financial hardships raising a child with disabilities. Increasingly, our clients with IDD are being called upon to support the household financially. Employment therefore not only enables individuals with IDD to support essential living expenses for themselves and their family in both the short- and long-term, but it also enables people to have more control over their lives and achieve better integration into community life.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

ICAN's Workforce Training Program provides meaningful employment opportunities for adults with IDD through the following employment initiatives that give our clients the chance to improve their economic situation and gain valuable skills: Supported Employment Program (SEP)-employment opportunities with fading one-on-one job coaching and interview assistance; Partial Work Program (PWP)-work training, work opportunities, along with social development, healthy living, and community integration initiatives that help clients discover more of who they are and what they can do; and Marketplace Initiative-microbusinesses created and operated by ICAN to provide tangible and valuable employment opportunities for clients, including Creative Studio which offers clients the chance to make and sell hand-crafted items with 100% of the proceeds going back to the client. The Workforce Training Program uniquely provides opportunities for clients to gain real life work experience and training while exploring their interests. Clients learn hard- and soft-skills critical to successful employment, such as operating a cash register, taking orders, learning proper sanitation, earning a food handler's certificate as well as interpersonal communication, social awareness, and conflict resolution - skills for good customer service and being an effective employee. ICAN is committed to providing all our clients who desire to work with meaningful employment opportunities paying at or above minimum wage.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Driven by the core belief that individuals with disabilities should be given the opportunity to live, work, and grow through programs and services of their choice, during the grant period ICAN expects to serve 390 clients through our Workforce Training programs, including helping 80 clients find new jobs, 70 participate in a job preparation course, 120 participate in job development activities, and 35 achieve their one-year work anniversary. Most of our clients are conserved or their parents have power of attorney, and with growing income inequality and increasing housing costs, parents are rightfully concerned over what will happen to their children when the parents can no longer take care of them. As such, ICAN plans to continue innovating, expanding, and enhancing our services to meet the growing needs of our increasing client base now and in the future to ensure that clients have access to the support needed to find and maintain employment and gain independence.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

ICAN has a strong track record of providing our clients with jobs they enjoy while ensuring that they earn the income needed to help reduce income inequality. Since 2014, ICAN has helped over 300 clients achieve their dream of a real job at a livable wage. In 2022 alone, 68 clients found new jobs, 76 participated in a job preparation course, 97 participated in job development activities, and 32 achieved their one-year work anniversary. Additionally, the average starting pay was $16 per hour - critical because some people with disabilities still earn as little as 15 cents an hour! Over the years, ICAN has grown to be Harbor Regional Center's (HRC) largest SEP provider. Of the 6 agencies contracted with HRC for Supported Employment, ICAN provides 60% of employment placements. ICAN believes that all people deserve to find meaningful work and purpose in life, and to be paid a fair wage. As such, since our founding, ICAN only places clients in jobs that pay at least minimum wage.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 390

Indirect Impact: 6,330