A two-year programme with proven success in labour market integration
- Transition to Independent Living programme (TIL)
- Taft College
- Country of Implementation
- United States of America
- North America
- Kearn County
- Start Year
- First published
“They teach me how to be responsible for myself without any of my parents' guidance. It's pretty cool!” A TIL student freshman
Taft Community College is a public institution located in Taft, California. It has developed the Transition to Independent Living (TIL) programme, which offers post-secondary education for adults over 18 years with intellectual or developmental disabilities. The two-year programme provides independent living-skills training and work experience to increase participants’ functional, social, and career skills. The graduating class of 2018 contained 23 students, and 78 per cent found employment in the open labour market.
Persons with intellectual disabilities often find it difficult to gain adequate employment due to a variety of issues including the lack of holistic education possibilities.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
Taft Community College has been offering support and training for people with intellectual disabilities since 1995.The current curriculum focuses on independent living skills that support access to employment, work-based communication skills, living in the community skills (such as housekeeping and cooking), and problem solving. The programme curriculum and service models are consistently evaluated and modified to reflect best practices. Taft is located in rural central California, and TIL students live on campus, for example, in the 32-dorm Center for Independent Living, built in 2012. Students work in organizations in the local area for six hours per week, in addition to participating in school and programme activities from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Further, students and their families provide staff with ideas about how things can be done differently to meet their needs. In 2019, 52 students are enrolled; and in 2018, 19 students worked for one of 14 local employers. On average, 88 per cent of TIL graduates receive a certificate from Taft Community College for the completion of the two-year programme. Further, the TIL programme tracks the progress of graduates for ten years through an annual survey, which helps to continuously improve the model.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
TIL is funded by the Regional Centers, a non-profit private corporation that contracts with the California Department of Developmental Services to provide or coordinate services and supports for people with developmental disabilities. Total cost of the two-year programme is roughly $85,000 per student. TIL can be replicated and has already provided support for a non- profit organization in South Korea. Moreover, it provided the basic framework for the Pathway programme at the University of California Los Angeles and the Wayfinders programme at Fresno State University.