Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation by Senator Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, on Thursday to increase job opportunities for Californians with developmental disabilities.
Senate Bill 577 will create a pilot program offering community based vocational development services such as internships and volunteer opportunities, job exploration, targeted employer outreach, resume development, interviewing skill development, assistance in overcoming social barriers to employment and support for post-secondary education, including vocational education.
The bill was co-sponsored by the California Disability Services Association and the State Council on Developmental Disabilities and received strong support from numerous regional centers, providers and community organizations. The measure received the near unanimous support of both the Assembly and the Senate.
“Community based vocational development services have the potential to help Californians with developmental disabilities live more independent and productive lives in their communities,” Senator Pavley said.
The pilot program will be developed by the state Department of Developmental Services, which oversees a network of 21 regional centers serving Californians with developmental disabilities. Up to five regional center sites will be selected for the pilot.
According to state data, only 12.5 percent of regional center clients of working age are employed. Under SB 577, the Department will evaluate whether the pilot program increases employment outcomes and reduces the demand for other services for working age adults.
Pavley represents about half of the Santa Clarita Valley in the state Senate.