Ventura County Board of Supervisors Recognizes PathPoint and Community Partners in Honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Ventura, CA (October 10, 2023): The Ventura County Board of Supervisors recognized PathPoint’s Ventura County Services in honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) which occurs each year in October. The Board recognized PathPoint’s commitment to serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in Ventura since 1985, alongside several of the organization’s employment partners including Cypress Place Senior Living Ventura, the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village, St. John’s Regional Medical Center, and Regency Palms Senior Living Oxnard. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office also provides employment opportunities for the I/DD community and attended and spoke at the event in support.
In Ventura County, PathPoint offers Employment Services that support people with a range of disabilities through pre-vocational training, assessments, internships, job coaching, customized employment, and direct job connection. Additionally, PathPoint offers a service called Project SEARCH, which is a competitive, year-long internship that occurs through a combination of worksite rotations coupled with formal classroom instruction. In Ventura County, PathPoint partners with Cypress Place, Four Seasons, St. John’s, and Regency Palms who serve as host sites for the internship. Since its launch in 2014, Project SEARCH has achieved a 75% graduation employment rate.
“We’ve been extremely fortunate to have three graduating classes with PathPoint,” said Gina Rozner, Executive Director of Cypress Place Senior Living, during the Board of Supervisors meeting. “Not only have I seen the benefit to the interns and how they’ve grown tremendously, gaining incredible job skills, but it’s also served as an intergenerational benefit to the interns and our residents, building really important characteristics such as patience, empathy, and humility…. We are incredibly fortunate to partner with PathPoint.”
“We want them to have the skillset to go off into the community and gain employment…It’s incredible to see our interns flourish even after they’ve left the Four Seasons,” said Yarim Jalomo, People and Culture Manager at the Four Seasons Westlake Village.
In addition to Employment Services, PathPoint also offers Independent Living Services, which support people with I/DD to reside independently in their community. Highly trained staff assist people served in learning and refining skills such as cooking, cleaning, budgeting, personal self-care and much more. Together, Employment and Independent Living Services give people with I/DD the opportunity to live, work, and become fulfilled members of their community.
“If you go to Vons, Ralphs, or Smart and Final, if you go out for entertainment, you’ll see one of the people we serve. If you see those great big smiles, those are the people we support. They’re your neighbor, they’re your community partner as well…. There are people who started in the program thirty years ago and they’re gainfully employed and living on their own,” said Dawn Ashe, Interim Vice President of PathPoint’s Ventura County Services.
“The people we support are the heartbeat of PathPoint and our dedicated staff are incredibly committed to fulfilling our mission of instilling normalcy around the idea that while an individual may have a disability, they are capable. It is an honor to witness this every day at work,” said India LaRoda, PathPoint’s Program Manager for Employment Services.
“One of the things we need to do is get the word out about people’s abilities and how they can give back to the community…. They have a lot of skills and abilities to contribute. Proclamations like this promote that to the community,” said Aaron Kitzman, Program Administrator II for the Crisis Intervention Team of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.
The Board of Supervisors officially proclaimed October 2023 as National Disability Employment Awareness Month and celebrated these organizations’ commitment to advancing employment opportunities as well as self-sufficiency and inclusion for the I/DD community.
PathPoint is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that supports people in living the life they choose. The organization partners with people with disabilities, people with mental health diagnoses, and young adults to pursue their hopes and dreams through strengthening workplace abilities, building life skills, and developing meaningful relationships. By partnering with nearly 2,300 individuals across Kern, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura counties, PathPoint works to create compassionate, inclusive, and equitable communities where all individuals have the opportunity to thrive.
(Image description): Pictured left to right: Yarim Jalomo (People and Culture Manager, the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village), Dawn Ashe (Ventura County Interim Vice President, PathPoint), Jeff Gorell (2nd District Supervisor, County of Ventura), India LaRoda (Program Manager, PathPoint), Gina Rozner (Executive Director, Cypress Place Senior Living), Aaron Kitzman (Program Administrator II for the Crisis Intervention Team, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office), Erica Beall (Executive Director of Developmental Disability Services, PathPoint), Sheriff Jim Fryoff (Ventura County Sheriff), and Commander Jeremy Paris (Ventura County Sheriff’s Office).