(Agency Focuses on Adult With Disabilities Training.)
Howard Training Center will be charting new courses of training for its 246 clients and 111 staff here in Stanislaus County. The Non-Profit Agency with 3 campuses in the County is responding to the new demands of the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act of 2016. The Executive Director, Carla Strong, finds "that the traditional sheltered-workshop for training adults with disabilities will go away throughout our industry nationally" and be replaced by innovative programs that aim squarely for "Competitive-integrated-employment" for adults with disabilities.
Howard Training Center has trained adults with disabilities in several phases of vocational and life skills for 65 years. The Center has operated the Cal Trans rest-stops on Hwy 99 in Turlock and Interstate 5 in Westley for 22 years with their clients and job coaches. The 30 Training Clients who work in the Mary Stuart Rogers Commercial Kitchen on the Stonum Campus have produced the Senior Meals for Stanislaus County for the last 11 years. Crews from HTC’s Landscape Training Corp provide the gardening, trimming, and clean-up for the major thoroughfares of the City of Ceres. The Production Unlimited Campus works on hand work projects for major wineries, the Cal Trans Highway division, several major industries in town including the Hope Chests. Behavioral and Adult Service counseling and care are offered both at the Stratos Way Campus and the Stonum Campus for over 100 adults with disabilities.
The focus on Competitive-Integrated-Employment will create major innovations in each of the programs. For example, the Commercial Kitchen will be developed further into a Culinary Academy offering all steps of culinary training from cooking to “front of the house” skills with a complete curriculum. This dramatic change will lead HTC away from its role as a provider for Senior Meals. HTC’s leaders are working closely with the Area Agency on Aging in Stanislaus County to provide a smooth transition of services.
"We recognize the importance of the Seniors Meals on Wheels program and felt with these new mandates, others were better poised to handle this program; thus allowing HTC to excel at what we do best” said Ms. Strong. She continued, “Our community will benefit from these changes."
"The new focus on independent and integrated employment is a big, industry wide challenge" notes Ms. Strong of HTC. "We will place HTC at the forefront of providing services for our clients in Stanislaus County."