The lack of real employment opportunities, the lack of a living wage, the lack of full participation in our communities...all of these barriers and missed opportunities for adults with intellectual disabilities can be attributed to minimal, sub-standard employment options.
The Redwood SEED Scholars Program aims to change that.
Our program keeps employment readiness and employment opportunities at the center. We build social skills that are crucial to success in employment settings in context. We create learning opportunities that build skills that will directly improve employment options. We use the Living Learning Lab as a place to develop, practice and increase communication skills, relationship skills and time management/organizational skills. This is done in context and with meaning. Our Foundational Courses work to develop and enrich employment skills. All parts of our program are meant to work together to develop the skills necessary for our students to be successful within their larger communities upon graduation.
Our students begin their first internship on the UC Davis campus in spring quarter of their first year. Each quarter thereafter our students will have internship and employment opportunities based on their person-centered plan, their areas of interest, their hopes and dreams for the future and their skill set. This means that the Redwood SEED Scholars will have ten different internship and employment experiences over the course of our four year program.
We are building Ladders of Opportunity for employment. This takes a general area of interest that the student may have and works to find an area on campus that could be a good fit for an internship opportunity. After that quarter, if the internship was a success, we will move to develop other skills or deepen already acquired skills with a different internship. It could be within the same area of interest or some place else. Our goal is to offer choice to our students and to open up their understanding about what is possible when they consider the world of work. Having a world-class university willing to open its doors and share the diverse employment opportunities available is an incredible gift and our program takes full advantage of it.
We have an Employment/Internship Director - Philip Leung - and an Employment Specialist - Steve Ruder - who are dedicated to maximizing our campus opportunities and developing off-campus opportunities as well. Both of these people are highly experienced and have decades of expertise in supported, inclusive employment. We are so lucky!