California Community Services Program (CSP)

Map of California with regions identified If you have a combined vision and hearing loss and need assistance in your home or at work, you may benefit from specialized training in order to maintain your independence and safety. 

HKNC’s California Community Service Program (CSP) can bring the experts to you. HKNC’s California CSP staff are here to help you find ways to be independent in your home, navigate your world, and prepare for employment by developing job readiness skills. In collaboration with the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR), the CSP provides innovative ways to become more independent, be successful in the work place, and find a variety of ways for you to communicate with your community in the workplace and at home. If you live in Southern California, between Bakersfield and San Diego, you may qualify to receive one-on-one training in the environments that are most convenient and familiar to you. 

Our team of specialists in the DeafBlind field will work with you to build your self-confidence, independent skills, job readiness skills to find employment, and provide post-employment training and support. Skilled in alternative communication methods, including both tactual and visual American Sign Language, they are uniquely equipped to provide training and support in the following areas: independent living, orientation and mobility, assistive technology, employment training services, and job placement services. 

Eligibility

The CSP provides direct services to eligible California residents. We serve people between Bakersfield to San Diego or if you have an open case with California DOR. For more information, contact Chad Metcalf, supervisor of the Community Services Program, at Chad.Metcalf@hknc.org.

Vocational Training/Placement Services

Are you looking to gain employment? Unsure how to even start the process or perhaps feel hesitant to search for work because of a disappointing experience? Do you need support in your current employment setting? The CSP team is ready to support you! Our staff will assess your skills and preferences, work with you to set individual career goals, and develop the skills you need to achieve them. Our staff will work closely with you to identify equipment and accommodations that will be helpful on the job, including computer software and hardware, interpreters, and transportation. Your job coach will provide you with on-site and remote support to help ensure your success.

CSP participants are currently being placed in various areas of employment, from universities to retail. We will work tirelessly to find the right employer and location to suit your lifestyle and your abilities. 

You will work one-on-one with a job coach to:

  • Create an action plan tailored to your individual circumstances
  • Develop job search and interviewing skills
  • Explore adaptive equipment if needed
  • Understand ADA law, workplace culture, and safety
  • Assess your vocational skills and acquire new skills to stay more competitive in the job market

Employment Training Specialist

Job readiness training programs prepare participants to receive, retain, and excel at a new job. You will learn skills to prepare yourself to enter into the workforce. Job readiness training programs also help participants develop good work habits that facilitate their ongoing success. Some of the skills you will be working on will be the following:

  • Effective communication with your co-workers and supervisor
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Resume building 
  • Job search and interviewing skills
  • Employment training, placement services, and job coaching

Orientation and Mobility

Orientation and Mobility (O&M) refers to knowledge of where you are in space and how to navigate that space. You will learn skills and strategies on how to be independent while traveling by foot, public transportation, or a car service. O&M is necessary to maintain a job so you can get to places safely and efficiently. Some of the skills you will learn are the following:

  • Cane and pre-cane skills
  • Navigation for indoor and outdoor environments
  • Planning and execution of routes
  • Utilizing para- or public transportation
  • Utilizing street crossing cards and signs

Independent Living Services 

You will develop skills and strategies to help you manage your home more safely and efficiently. You will learn how to prepare and cook healthy meals, clean your home effectively, budget your finances, and how to live as independently as possible.  

Topics Include:

  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Financial management
  • Health needs management 
  • Organizational skills

Technology

Technology is growing every day and often people with vision and hearing loss are not aware of the options available to them. Assistive Technology (AT) plays a key role in the success of a person who is DeafBlind. It creates bridges for communication with the hearing public as well as breaking the communication barrier with friends and relatives. With your AT Instructor, you will identify the technology that best fits your needs and receive training on how to use it. This will allow you to feel more confident, gain independence, and become more included in your community.

Meet HKNC's California CSP Staff

Susanne Hogan 

Susanna HoganSusanne Hogan is an Orientation & Mobility Specialist. She has a dual master’s degree in Orientation & Mobility/Rehabilitation Therapy. She worked at HKNC in New York for almost 10 years and has since returned to the HKNC family in California for the Southern California Community Service Program in 2019. She has worked in the field of DeafBlindness since 2004 in different capacities. 

Wendy Laila Chouinard

Wendy Chouinard headshotWendy Chouinard is from sunny Southern California and works as our placement specialist in the Southwest Region.  She is multi-lingual (Spanish, French, English, Arabic, and ASL) and an avid traveler with only one continent left for her to explore. She has worked as a certified tri-lingual sign language interpreter and small business owner for over 10 years.  She brings her business and communication background to provide the best employment opportunities for DeafBlind individuals. 

Juan Ramos 

Juan Ramos headshotJuan Ramos is the new Assistive Technology Senior Instructor for the CA-CSP team. He holds a Masters in Assistive Technology and Human Services from California State University, Northridge. For the past few years he has been working as a trilingual interpreter (English, American Sign Language, spoken Spanish) in the community as well as doing tech training with a variety of adaptive technology users. He has been working closely with clients in the National DeafBlind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP) for six years. In his free time he enjoys preparing for a triathlon, cooking random vegan recipes, and spending time with his girlfriend and pet chameleon.

Sabrina Vieira de Vasconcelos

Headshot of  Sabrina Vieira de VasconcelosSabrina Vieira de Vasconcelos is an Employment Training Specialist. Born in Brazil, she first got involved with the Deaf community while she was working towards her undergraduate in social work. She worked as a Brazilian Sign Language interpreter for five years, and has a degree in ASL studies and ASL interpretation. She has a Master degree in Social Work and another in Teaching ASL. Since moving to America, Sabrina has worked as an Support Service Provider for seven years and she teaches ASL for the past five years.

Desere Patterson

Desere PattersonDesere Patterson is a Rehabilitation Instructor who hails from Riverside, CA. She graduated with great distinction with a Sign Language Interpreting Certificate; an Associate of Science degree in Sign Language Interpreting;  an Associate of Arts degree in Humanities, Philosophy, and Arts; and an Associate in Arts degree in Communication, Media, and Languages from Riverside City College. She has over 25 years of interpreting experience, and holds national certifications with both RID and NAD. Desere previously worked as an Independent Living Skills Instructor at the Dayle McIntosh Center (an Independent Living Center) located in Orange County, CA. In 2019, Desere attended Western Oregon University’s DeafBlind Interpreting Institute and received training in ProTactile methodology. She currently has one term left in her bachelor of science degree program at Southern Illinois University, majoring in Workforce Education and Development. Her entire career has been in the Southern California area.  She looks forward to utilizing her connections with community stakeholders and gatekeepers to assist DeafBlind individuals who wish to transition into employment.

New York Community Services Program

To learn about the New York Community Services program, follow the link below. 

New York Community Services Program