After spending his college years volunteering with the Special Olympics, Scott Elliott knew his life’s passion was to work with those who are physically and developmentally challenged. In 1996, he took over as the director of a ministry that had been providing various services and programs for people with disabilities since 1975.
When Scott discovered that it is legal in California for employers to pay a person with disabilities as little as $1 per hour, he decided to do something about it.
ICAN is Established
Scott founded ICAN to provide quality employment, recreational, and socialization programs for Southern Californian adults with physical and developmental disabilities. He felt people with disabilities should not have to settle for jobs below minimum wage pay. Scott wanted to support not just the needs of the individual, but their entire family.
ICAN was certified in 2012 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to empower people with disabilities to achieve their best potential by discovering and achieving their own “I CAN Statement.”
Clients are asked to state “I can…” and then complete the sentence with the goal(s) they wish to accomplish.
Supportive Employment Skills Program
Certification was received for the Supportive Employment Skills Program in May 2015. Once a client is helped in determining what job they desire, the ICAN team will find employment for them from their business contacts. An ICAN team member will work alongside the client at their new job. As the client and employer grow in confidence, the team member will pull back to 90% assistance, to 80% and so on, so by six months the amount of time spent with clients is down to 20%.
Through the original Hermosa Beach office, 114 clients have been placed in jobs. Success stories include a client who adores kids and ICAN was able to secure her an internship which turned into permanent childcare staff job. Another client who loves animals was able to gain employment at a doggy day care center with ICAN’s help.
Recently, a second office was opened in Long Beach with a recently awarded $150,000 state grant. In the first month at this new location, three clients have been placed in permanent jobs.
Sometimes there are clients who require an even more supportive work environment. For those individuals, there are job opportunities with ICAN’s own coffee cart, photo booth rental and print shop micro-enterprises. Client-created handmade items are also sold on ICAN’s Etsy shop and at local arts and crafts fairs.
Life Skills Day Program
In January 2016, the weekday Life Skills Day Program was launched. Designed to help participants develop social, fitness, and transportation skills, there are a range of activities to choose from. Options include hiking excursions, yoga classes, camping trips, photography classes, or even courses to learn a new language. Annual trips to Knott’s Berry Farm, movie days, and special Saturday programs are also offered.
Positive Results Produced
Besides continued successful job placement for their clients, Scott Elliott’s future plans include opening a full-fledged licensed facility in Santa Monica office by 2020.
The most impressive aspect of this organization is that Scott Elliott has made sure there is continuous client follow-up. The ICAN team regularly checks in with clients regarding job placement and/or life skills or recreational activities. If there are any problems or adjustments needed, the team will work to change the circumstances so clients’ wishes are met.
Thanks to Scott Elliott’s intention to provide long-term results rather than settle for a temporary “band-aid solution,” ICAN’s participants are enabled to do whatever they put their minds to and enjoy their lives to the fullest.
For More Information
- Call (310) 374-8295.
- Email email@example.com.
- Explore ICAN’s website.
- Check out these videos that spotlight ICAN’s programs and clients.
- Sign up to become a volunteer.
- Make a financial donation.
- Spread the word; share this story on your social media and follow ICAN on Instagram.