(Santa Ana, CA) – Recognizing the growing need for a professional workforce to support the developmental needs of children with autism, the Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD), Santa Ana College (SAC), and Santiago Canyon College (SCC), recently hosted an industry roundtable to identify gaps and barriers in workforce readiness in Orange County and surrounding communities.
“In our community, more and more children are diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Their parents need assistance from a wide range of professionals to help their children,” said Dr. Enrique Perez, vice chancellor educational services for the Rancho Santiago Community College District. “As a result the Autism care industry is growing in our community and is experiencing a shortage of qualified, highly trained workforce.”
“The purpose of the industry roundtable was to meet with members of the Autism Care Business Association who want to collaborate with SAC and SCC and to explore partnerships that will result in a win for our students, our colleges, the industry and most importantly our community’s Autistic children and their families,” said Dr. Perez.
Autism Business Association members throughout southern California have indicated the need for a trained workforce including behavior technicians, to the tune of about 600 in Orange County and over 1,880 in southern California annually. They are looking to collaborate with Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College to address the workforce gap.
The roundtable included guest speakers from the Autism Industry Association members: ABEDI, Autism Behavior Services, Autism Spectrum Interventions, Autism Spectrum Therapies, Bloom Behavioral Health, California Psychcare, Creative Behavior Interventions, Love2Learn, STAR of CA, and TASKids.
Participants explored industry hiring needs and skills required, especially for occupations requiring a certificate or an associate degree. They examined gaps and barriers and determined workforce training and development needs, internship opportunities and additional areas for collaboration.
The roundtable concluded with the identification of key partners that will work toward the development of a certificate program that will meet minimum requirements of three nationally accredited certifications recognized by insurance companies. As a result of a roundtable, SCC has taken the lead in development of a Certificate Program for Autism Care Technicians. It is noteworthy that SAC and SCC already offer many of the courses required for professionals serving children and adults with special needs including those diagnosed on the Autism spectrum.
For more information about the industry roundtable or education for the Autism care industry, please contact Leila Mozaffari at (714) 480-7456 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Rancho Santiago Community College District
Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College are public community colleges of the Rancho Santiago Community College District, which serves the residents of Anaheim Hills, Orange, Santa Ana, Villa Park, and portions of Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, and Tustin. Both colleges provide education for academic transfer and careers, courses for personal and professional development, and customized training for business and industry.
About the California Community Colleges
The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed of 72 districts and 114 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. California community colleges provide career education and workforce training; guaranteed transfer to four-year universities; degree and certificate pathways; and basic skills education in English and math. As the state’s engine for social and economic mobility, the California Community Colleges supports the Vision for Success, a strategic plan designed to improve student success outcomes, increase transfer rates and eliminate achievement gaps. For more information, please visit the California Community Colleges website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.