Courtney’s House is a nonprofit organization offering two programs: Vocational Training and Employment and Social & Life Skills Training for adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD), an underserved population in our community.
Vocational Training Program
Our vocational training program takes place in our commercial kitchen, managed by Christina Dillow, a well-known chef and restaurateur. As the Director of Operations, Chris oversees all food training programs.
“Serving More Than Just Good Food”
Fig Online Marketplace
311 6th Street
Templeton, CA 93465
CURBSIDE PICK-UP Wednesday-Saturday
Shopping at our online store puts our interns to work. Our job coaches provide training and supervision enabling interns to fulfill many of the duties necessary for running a productions kitchen.
Our vocational training program teaches skills necessary for employment in a commercial kitchen setting, as well as other sectors including small retail, stockroom environments and landscape maintenance.
It is a supportive and respectful training program supervised by job coaches who develop individualized learning plans for our interns. We also assist employers who have recently hired an intern to support success.
Our interns receive a stipend or paycheck (depending on their level in the program) creating independence and an enhanced feeling of self-worth.
By being a part of a kitchen team, our interns interact with customers, which benefits their growth and also gives the community a look into the lives of those with disabilities. This allows the public at large to understand that people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities can be employed alongside workers without disabilities and earn competitive wages.
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There are three general categories of interns in our program with individualized learning plans based on their current skill level and future goals.
Category 1: Ready to Work
These interns are very motivated to work and have a higher skill level. Their goals may be to build professional communication and interpersonal skills such as learning how to speak with an employer, interact with fellow employees, and be a team player.
They are enrolled in the Paid Internship Program (PIP) offered by Tri-Counties Regional Center,
a non-profit center in San Luis Obispo County that supports people with developmental disabilities. The program funds up to $10,400 per internship for up to a year.
We currently have three interns participating in PIP.
Category 2: Skill Level Development
This intern is working towards increasing the skill set necessary to be a successful employee. Everyone is different with unique needs, but these interns are usually working on communication skills, building self-esteem and confidence, and learning how to cope in different situations in the restaurant.
Category 3: Meaningful Activity
These interns want meaningful work in a safe and respectful environment, but they do not necessarily have the goal to transition into part-time or full-time employment in the community. As they participate at Courtney’s House, their goals may change as they progress.
We know that they may not be able to transfer the skills learned here to outside employment because of the disabilities they live with every day. However, these individuals can still succeed when performing consistent tasks in a predictable environment with support provided by a job coach.
We offer these interns the opportunity to participate in the restaurant and join the camaraderie found in our social program, so they may have an enriched life in our community.
Training and Job Coaches
Job coaches are the cornerstone of our program. Our program manager and job coaches work with a certified behavioral specialist to develop individualized learning plans for the interns. We use professional, best practices to assess skills and interests of our interns and establish realistic learning objectives.
Job coaches provide ongoing support for the interns helping them achieve goals that have been set for personal and professional growth.
Our program manager, Erin Lawrence, has also helped several interns transition to another employment opportunity. She has helped educate new employers about those with I/DD and assisted with a smooth placement.
Task Analysis and Chaining
Task analysis is a method of breaking up a task into small steps according to its sequence. Chaining is a method where each of these steps is taught in a sequential manner and practiced.
All of the tasks in the restaurant, such as making coffee or greeting a guest, are analyzed and developed into step-by-step work sheets with photos to help interns who may not be skilled readers.
This is a very effective learning system and it works!
Transition to Employment in the Community
We are excited to see our interns transitioning into traditional employment in the community!
Heather is a host at Berryhill Bistro
Matt is a stocker at Food 4 Less
Hunter is employed at Smart & Final