Human Services


Everyone participates, everyone belongs

aka CCS, Inc.

Colchester, VT


Champlain Community Services provides essential supports to people with intellectual disabilities and autism, building a community where everyone participates and everyone belongs.

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Elizabeth Sightler

Main Address

512 Troy Avenue

Colchester, VT 05446 USA


Employment, education, career development, advocacy, justice, intellectual disabilities, autism, inclusion, community engagement, education





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Developmentally Disabled Services/Centers (P82)

Employment Training (J22)

Other Youth Development N.E.C. (O99)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Social Media


Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

As a nonprofit serving Vermont, Champlain Community Service (CCS) believes all Vermonters deserve the opportunity to earn income, achieve independence, fully participate and truly belong in their communities. For more than 50 years, CCS has supported people with intellectual disabilities and autism in their quest for full participation. Unfortunately, barriers remain: our neighbors with disabilities are too often marginalized or excluded in their efforts to find work or housing and achieve independence. Large discrepancies in unemployment between disabled and non-disabled citizens are still reflected in employment data. As a Specialized Services Agency (SSA) within the State of Vermont's internationally recognized developmental services system of care, CCS is focused on employment. Through a state-of-the-art program of assessment, training, placement, coaching, and support - and powerful partnerships with area employers - we are showing that with proper supports, anyone can work.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Way2Work Program

School2Work Program


Where we work

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

CCS seeks to build a community where everyone participates and belongs. We provide an array of supports to people with intellectual disabilities and autism - at work, at home, at school, for life. We deliver services with a personal approach: individualized, carefully coordinated, and community based. Our focus is employment, so our goal is to eliminate the stigma of disability in the workplace and support those we serve in gaining meaningful, minimum-wage or higher jobs that fill real needs for their employers and offer opportunities for both independence and advancement. We want students with disabilities to be thinking of work after high school while still in high school (as non-disabled students are routinely encouraged and supported to do). We want to break the cycle of isolation that impacts many people with disabilities, Clearly the workplace is one step, but so too is ensuring access to independent living situations and full participation in community activities: from recreation and fitness, to leisure, continuing education and cultural activities, to voting and participation in community leadership and governance. We host and co-facilitate an active Self-Advocates group, Champlain Voices. We outreach community groups and associations, as well as employers, to offer education and build the partnerships that break down the "service-delivery" model and build real connections for participation and achievement.

Our main strategy is full participation and partnership. The goals we seek can only be achieved in the broader community. Gaining full participation and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities is not an academic puzzle to be solved in our offices or at a group home. It's in real life: at work, at school, in the neighborhood or apartment building. And it's not 9-to-5, but 24/7. Our Way2Work program is so successful, in part, because it meets employers where they are. "Hey, there's a labor shortage! Need good employees? Let's design a training program together that meets YOUR needs as well as ours!" We encourage our consumers to get involved in the community as leaders. Two serve on our own Board of Directors. Other serve on boards or as community volunteers throughout our service area. Our self-advocates do workshops and TV shows. It's our belief that "everyone participates and everyone belongs." So, we push participation and that leads to belonging! We participate as an organization: we are members of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR). We are part of the Vermont Care Partners collaborative, we are part of a Public Health Partnership that works with medical students at the University of Vermont Medical Center. We collaborate with Think College VT to help provide post-secondary education experiences to students with intellectual disabilities. For us, community is where the action is, so we are involved, visible, and engaged.

Our supported employment program, Way2Work, has been named the top such program by the State of Vermont for eight consecutive years. (And that means a lot! Vermont's supported employment system itself was recognized internationally last year with a Zero Project Award for Innovation in Employment, awarded at the United Nations in Vienna, Austria). We've built the program and refine it continuously. We now offer a continuum of supports - unique in Vermont, and perhaps regionally or nationally) that offers employment support from high school to retirement age; from pre-vocational experiences and assessments, through transitional jobs and internships, to first jobs, to career development and advancement. Our pre-vocational component, Bridging, offers high school students career exploration as well as community engagement and advocacy experiences in partnership with five Chittenden County high schools (though we expect this to expand to other counties). The program has gone to a whole new level since CCS took over its coordination three years ago (at the urging of our partner schools). School2Work works with school to career transitions for graduating students (or those "aging out" of high school) We have created service delivery models that are setting standards for replication, we are financially stable, have an extremely strong network of community partners, and all five members of our Senior Management team have been with the agency for 12-plus years. Our management staff is engaged and veteran, our consumers have a store voice in our operation, and our direct support staff is deep and well-trained. We are a known and respected community partner, twice named "Best Non-Profit" in the region by a business magazine.

Indicators we track include: The number and percentage of our consumers (aka "clients") participate in Way2Work. Who seek work and ask for support in finding, maintaining and advancing. The number and percentage of participants who secure work. Longevity on the job. Employer and employee satisfaction (reports that we are making positive impacts in individual lives and in the workplace) Individual and collective wage reports; tracking of raises and promotions. How many employers participate? How many sectors? Hoe many approach CCS as an "employment resource? Community leadership successes from our advocates. Number of students participating in Bridging and School2Work. Ability to secure housing and promote independent living. There are of course many "numbers" that can reflect progress. But some of it will be in the individual stories of lives changed. "Since I got my job, I am a different person," one young consumer recently wrote. "For example, I am now interested in new skills. I am also now President of the Self-advocacy group Champlain Voices. I want to live independently, so I can live life my way." To "live life my way" was once not a realistic goal for one with an intellectual disability. It is now - a sure sign of progress. This young man is on the cusp of saying, "I am now living my life, my way." To hear THAT, from him and others, and to know we played a role? A sure sign of success.

CCS has been named the top supported employment program in the state for the past eight years. We have earned "National Best Practices" recognition through APSE: The Network on Employment. CCS was selected to train supported employment and vocational rehabilitation professionals throughout Vermont on supporting entrepreneurs with disabilities to launch micro-businesses. We have earned consistently high (90-plus percent) from employers and program participants. Other agencies and community partners are contracting with CCS to enhance their employment programs (or even manage them), we are coordinating Bridging on behalf of Chittenden County high schools, have recently expanded our home and shared living supports to include Homeward, an independent alternative to assisted living or "nursing homes" for seniors or young adults with disabilities, and will soon host a site for Global Campus. We've changed the face of employment in Vermont, together with our colleagues in the field and the Developmental Service system: for institutions, to "sheltered workshops" to fledgling supported employment initiatives, to a world leader in that field, while also providing self-employment and post-secondary education opportunities to People with intellectual disabilities. What's next? How can even more naturally collaborative partnerships enhance our model of full inclusion and participation? For our consumers, and our community partners. Our goal must be to stay open to innovation, new partners, approaches, and models.

External Reviews




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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Full-Time Staff and Part-Time Staff.

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members, Senior Staff, Full-Time Staff and Part-Time Staff.


Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity