COC to launch ‘Uniquely Abled Academy’ in spring 2018

College of the Canyon's Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center. Source: College of the Canyons Public Information Office
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Source: College of the Canyons

With the purpose of creating career and job opportunities to individuals on the autism spectrum, College of the Canyons will launch the Uniquely Abled Academy (UAA) in spring 2018. 

The program will provide advanced training and support for highly functional autistic individuals to work as Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) machinists. 

“The nature of the job is detail-oriented, which needs a great amount of focus,” said Mike Bastine, director of the Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) at College of the Canyons. “Furthermore, machining tasks can be repetitive, which lends this career to be ideally suited for the high-function uniquely abled population.”

The UAA CNC machining course at COC will be a 12-week program that provides 420 hours of training and instruction to participating individuals, which includes soft skills, open laboratory, job readiness, and 21st century skills training. After completing the not-for-credit course, graduates will be qualified for entry-level positions as CNC operators, machinist apprentices, and machine trainees. 

“This CNC machining program is only the beginning,” said Bastine. “This is a pilot program, which can evolve and be replicated at other locations and into other manufacturing career fields, such as robotics, CNC programming, manufacturing assembly, and industry maintenance.” 

UAA is set to launch in collaboration with multiple local businesses who will provide employment to UAA graduates. 

Created by Ivan Rosenberg, UAA was first implemented at Glendale Community College, where 17 participants have undergone training. 

A special meeting for interested trainees will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25 at the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center (UCEN), Room 107. 

Employers who are interested in joining UAA are encouraged to attend an orientation event from 8 to 10 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6 at UCEN, Room 223. The forum will provide potential employers insight regarding the program’s benefits. 

For more information about the Uniquely Abled Academy, please visit: 

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