Robotics Training

College of the Canyons Receives Funding for Robotics Training Program

Robotics training program will empower uniquely abled students and fuel the robotics revolution.

College of the Canyons’ Workforce & Economic Advancement Division, in partnership with the University of Southern California’s (USC) University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, has been awarded a $260,000 grant to fund a unique robotics programming training program for students on the autism spectrum. The grant, which supports the Uniquely Abled Project’s mission to create pathways to competitive integrated employment in advanced manufacturing for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), is an exciting development for both institutions and the students they serve.

DDS Employment Grant: The Proof of Concept Project

The 18-month proof of concept project, funded by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Employment Grant, aims to develop, implement, and evaluate the Uniquely Abled Academy’s specialized training and placement model for high-wage competitive integrated employment. The project will focus on training a total of 16 individuals with IDD through a specialized program called the Uniquely Abled Academy: Robotics Training Program, which falls under the advanced manufacturing sector.

An Academic-Community Collaboration

The grant’s success is built on a solid foundation of academic-community collaboration, bringing together a multi-disciplinary team of professionals with extensive experience in the IDD and Competitive Integrated Employment fields. This collaboration ensures access to the necessary resources, such as space, equipment, and supplies, as well as professional and industry networks, all of which are essential for the project’s success.

The Uniquely Abled Academy: Robotics Training Program

The Uniquely Abled Academy: Robotics training is designed to provide students on the autism spectrum with the skills and knowledge they need to excel in the advanced manufacturing sector. By participating in the program, students will not only acquire valuable technical skills but also benefit from the opportunity to join a competitive, high-wage job market. The program’s core focus is to prepare these students for a bright future by tapping into their unique abilities and helping them overcome any barriers they may face in their professional lives.

“The goals of the Uniquely Abled Program dovetail perfectly with the equity goals of the community colleges’ Strong Workforce Program, which is to improve access, completion, and employment success for all trainees.” 

—Mike Bastine, Director Uniquely Abled Project, College of the Canyons


The $260,000 grant, awarded to the College of the Canyons’ Uniquely Abled Academy through our collaboration with USC’s UCEDD, is a significant step toward creating more inclusive and accessible pathways for individuals with IDD. By supporting and implementing specialized training programs like robotics training, these institutions are paving the way for a more diverse, skilled, and competitive workforce in the advanced manufacturing sector.

Read more about the Uniquely Abled Program. 

About the Uniquely Abled Project

The Uniquely Abled Academy at College of the Canyons is an implementation of The Uniquely Abled Project, which was originally founded by Dr. Ivan Rosenberg, managing partner for InVista Associates and a parent of two adult children with high-functioning autism.

The Uniquely Abled Project (UAP) is a groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind collaboration with the business community. Our focus is the creation of vocational opportunities for the uniquely abled by matching their unique abilities to jobs in demand. We are different from other jobs programs, because we have a business conversation with companies and provide an extraordinary solution to a need that businesses have. We are not asking them to “help the handicapped.”

The Uniquely Abled Project enables those with a diagnosis to have the possibility of a career that is meaningful and provides income, dignity and purpose while filling a major need for employers. Our exceptional partnerships with educators, autism specialists, and representatives from state and local social service agencies have enabled us to create programs that properly train, place and provide ongoing support for autistic students seeking well-paying jobs across a wide range of industries.

For more information about the UAA training programs offered by College of the Canyons, please contact:

Mike Bastine
Director, Uniquely Abled Project
College of the Canyons
Email: [email protected]

Lynda DePerno
CACT Coordinator
[email protected] 

Tel: (661) 362-3112