When Olympic Peninsula Enterprises closed its doors in 1985 many of the clients were picked up by other agencies. However, the individuals with more significant challenges remained at home without day service opportunities. Several parents met to discuss options for this disabled adult population. They elected to form a sheltered workshop to provide “real work” skills in a safe setting. Kitsap Applied Technologies (KAT) was born on October 26, 1985 and was recognized by the Washington State Secretary of State as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit corporation. KAT began serving 12 individuals in January 1986.
The training was going very well and the use of non-aversive behavioral management techniques was eliminating behaviors inappropriate for the work place. KAT signed contracts with Boeing and several Kitsap companies in order to offer all of its clients training and paid employment doing real work. KAT added community based employment opportunities by contracting for work opportunities at the Kitsap Mall and Communitas.
In 1991 KAT began to contract with the Francis Haddon Morgan Center to provide employment services to some of their residents. Many of the FHMC individuals were autistic and a pilot program was set up to see if off site employment was practical. There were many successes but the program terminated when Francis Haddon closed in 2011.
New Pathways for Some Clients
In 2005, KAT worked with DSHS to implement the Pathways to Employment program. Pathway plans were developed for every KAT client. The plans identify skills, interests and any challenges to provide a basis for moving towards successful individualized employment.
By 2013 it was clear that KAT and DSHS had a different visions for serving the disabled adult population of Kitsap County. KAT developed a transition for the clients out of the sevice contract and looked for better ways to serve.
A New Service Model For Disabled Adults
Serving the DD community in ways that make sense for the individual’s needs is true to the mission that the founders of KAT envisioned. KAT used its experienced staff to develop a day activity program tailored for a wide range of challenged adults with a wide range of skill sets. In 2013 KAT began offering an activity program that was fun and provides opportunities for socialization and developing basic life skills. It will evolve to serve the needs of the individuals who participates, including respite care.
KAT maintains a limited work experience program for DD adults under-employed and want the opportunity to be valued and paid for their piece work accomplishments.
Helping Our Veterans InTransition
In 2011, Kitsap Applied Technologies began collaborating with the Veterans Affairs Administration to serve disabled veterans. KAT’s extended evaluation program is recognized by the V.A. as a valuable resource in Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation services. The purpose of an extended evaluation is to determine the current feasibility of the veteran in obtaining suitable employment consistent with his or her abilities, aptitudes, and interest. It is designed for individuals whose disabilities are so severe that they are currently unable to pursue an employment goal by themselves. KAT’s contribution includes developing a work site environment providing each the veteran with real work responsibilities while working with the veteran in overcoming individualized impediments to vocational goals. Activities are based upon specific needs of the participant and may include soft and hard skill training such as, 1) punctuality; 2) productivity; 3) proper socializing with co-workers, staff, and managers; 4) skill acquisition and task training; and 5) group discussion. These skills are fundamental to achieving job placement, retention, and longevity. Programming targets the Vet’s individual needs. The scope of services includes assessment to develop a programmed approach to improve his or her ability to attain a vocational goal; hands on activities to improve his or her ability to live and function in a working environment; with emphasis on the value of living independently in the community.
KAT Partners Who Make It Possible
The KAT programs would not be possible without valued partners, Boeing Company, United Way of Kitsap County, Kitsap Foundation, and the Arc Of Kitsap and Jefferson Counties. KAT has also been helped by generous donations from families and companies that support its mission.
KAT Operational Oversight is provided by a volunteer board of directors working in concert with the management and the wonderful staff at KAT.