In recognition of Beacons, Inc. and its contributions, on August 30, 2022 Supervisors Jim Desmond (District 5) and Terra Lawson-Remer (District 3) honored Beacons with a proclamation on behalf of the County Board of Supervisors naming August 30th "Beacons North County Day."
Beacons, Inc. was founded in 2018, opening its doors in late fall to provide social recreational opportunities - now typically waitlist only - through its Club Beacons for individuals aged 16+. In 2019, Beacons launched its PathFinder division to offer vocational training opportunities with the assistance of grant funding from the National Foundation for Autism Research and the Qualcomm Foundation to address the high unemployment rates of those with developmental disabilities in San Diego County and the lack of small-ratio postsecondary instructional options. Per the Department of Developmental Services, the average unemployment rate in San Diego County since 2016 has been approximately 84%.
During the pandemic, Beacons earned a reputation for supporting those isolated at home by providing chromebooks and a full schedule of synchronous learning (live instruction) the next business day after the Governor's shelter-in-place order while others were discontinuing or reducing their services. Beacons now has a reputation for its high success rate in employment development and placement, and quality self-determination planning. The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce has selected Beacons twice as a finalist for Nonprofit of the Year.
Beacons offers vocational options through its Explorer and PathFinder divisions to offer postsecondary learning workshops in Creative Design, Customer Service, Entrepreneurial Skills and Office Skills. Beacons launched Explorer on April 1, 2022 to provide vocational learning options to trainees who need more time to learn the skills targeted by the Beacons vocational curriculum. All workshops are progress monitored and include soft skills development, person-centered planning instruction, progress monitoring, socio-emotional support, job development and placement in addition to the "hard" skills forming the subject of each workshop. PathFinder teaches a single subject in four month workshops during the spring and fall sessions, while Explorer teaches a variety of subjects in four 5-month sessions during the spring and fall. During the summer session, Beacons offers a wide variety of vocational exploration workshops filling over 190 spots for the month of July.
Beacons was one of four recipients in San Diego County of the San Diego Workforce Partnership Project Inspire grant. In just under four years since opening, Beacons has had to expand its space twice and is currently looking for new space by 2025 to meet the growing needs of individuals in San Diego County, especially north county.
Beacons was represented at the presentation by Board members Lucile Lynch (President), Janet Schenker (VP), Mary Backer (Treasurer), and Ana Venegas (Grants), with Board members Laura Makings (Corporate Secretary), Melissa Collins-Porter and Charlie Duncan supporting in spirit. San Diego Regional Center representatives Paul Quinones and Wenddy Baca also attended in support. To watch the full presentation, please click here.
Thank you County Board of Supervisors for the honor, and the Beacons Board, staff, volunteers and our trainees for all the hard work to get Beacons to where it is today! Congratulations!