As a part of the CP Center’s commitment to help develop paid work opportunities, the Vocational Opportunity Center helps participants explore a variety of ways they can become employed. A number of classes concentrate on work in our society and help participants realize how they can fit into the work world. Participants also have the opportunity to explore and possibly develop self-employment through a small business development incubator called Cornerstone. Additionally, some of the participants are a part of the Mailing Services Cooperative.
The East Bay Mailing Services Cooperative, Inc. is a commercial mailing house that offers hand labeling, packaging, and mailing services to businesses in the Bay Area and across California. Collectively owned and operated by a group of participants, the profits generated by the coop are shared by each owner. Through the establishment of this co-op, the CP Center has helped this group of individuals to work, despite their disabilities, by applying their skills and talents to the needs of local industry and businesses.
The co-owners enthusiastically welcome each project, and the pride each has in their business and doing the best work possible is beyond compare. The result is satisfied customers, plus a sense of personal accomplishment for them.
The CP Center has a small business development center which provides a unique self-employment training program, vendored by the State of California, for people with developmental disabilities. This distinctive, cutting-edge program, called Cornerstone, guides participants to create a business tailored to their individual interests and goals and develop a business plan for its success.
Operated as a small business incubator, Cornerstone provides a roadmap with measurable benchmarks as participants go through four phases of business development: Discovery, Feasibility & Business Planning, Launch and Ongoing Support. The participants gain hands-on business experience in learning how to start, structure, and run their own business. Once the business is launched, the Center provides ongoing support to help sustain the entrepreneurial experience for the participant.
Vending Machine Training Program
As part of Cornerstone, this series of classes provides instruction on how to own and operate a vending machine business. Participants receive hands-on training and gain real life experience running vending machines located at sites in the community. Successful graduates launch their own vending machine businesses.
Prospective vending machine operators are taught the basic skills and concepts necessary to run a vending machine business. Participants at this level participate in site visits, enter sales data in Windows Vending Software, stock machines, and order inventory online.
Includes components of Vending 101, with the following addition of advanced vending operational skills, including: restocking/data entry of vending machine inventory, order processing of delivered inventory, and preparation for the subsequent days/weeks activities.
Includes components of Vending 101 and 102, with the following additions and/or variations:
conduct full inventory of and prepare order of needed items, count machine’s cash and prepare bank deposits. Successful graduates launch their own vending machine business.
Vending – Money Management for Business
As a part of the Vending Machine Training Program, participants study money management and record keeping, pricing to optimize sales, budgeting revenues and expenses, cost control options, and how to monitor profit and loss.
Work and Society
This class explores the role work plays in society, family, and individual lives. Participants will also learn about the difficulties a person with disabilities may face when searching for employment.
Work Readiness/Job Exploration
Participants will build the skills necessary to find employment, such as: interviewing/mock interviews, role playing, job search skills, rights of an employee, etc. Participants will also investigate and discuss the specific job functions and duties associated with a variety of jobs, and how those job functions could be modified to meet an ADA accommodation.