What Is Community Shop Class?

by Peter Vickland

 

Community Shop Class (CSC) is a blooming not-for-profit organization at the intersection of community leadership and good-neighborism.

As a neighborhood learning center, we strive to provide the existing community with the tools, resources, platforms, and expertise needed to build, beautify, and thrive. From job-skill training to tool-lending, Community Shop Class seeks to inspire and support a more neighborly and capable world.

Executive Director and founder Chad Orcutt describes CSC as “the physical location of a larger community” – a community centered around inclusivity, kindness, and experience-based learning.

the physical location of a larger community” – a community centered around inclusivity, kindness, and experience-based learning.

The Community Shop Class Mission

The mission of Community Shop Class is to provide its students and members with the opportunities, tools, and training they need to build and work for themselves. CSC is dedicated to creating an inclusive and sustainable working and learning environment for neurodivergent and underserved communities.

“Listen, Learn, Love.”

Through collaboration with other local businesses and job-skill training to equip our members with means and ability, Community Shop Class seeks to re-localize and stabilize manufacturing jobs in Oak Park. Programs such as the ADHD Inventor’s Club encourage neurodivergent learners to explore and familiarize themselves with the tools and skills required to join the workforce.

How Long Has Community Shop Class Been In Oak Park?

It takes time to get to know your neighbors. How long have we been on the block?

Community Shop Class has been located on Stockton Blvd since 2021 but was reborn as a not-for-profit Neighborhood Learning Center in August of 2022.

Since then, we have been providing the citizens of Oak Park with tools, classes, events, and opportunities to enter the trades with hands-on experience.

Shop Class Origins

Community Shop Class, first called Neighborhood Wood Goods, was originally conceived in founder Chad Orcutt’s garage. The concept was simple: to open his workshop and share his skillset with his neighbors. From this dream, Chad expanded and moved his business to Stockton Blvd, and Neighborhood Wood Goods became Community Shop Class.

 

What Kind of Training Programs are Offered at Community Shop Class?

Community Shop Class provides a variety of classes and programs for its members. CSC has worked with organizations such as AmeriCorps, California Mobility Center, Sierra Service Project, and Waking the Village, to create tool-safety training programs, e-bike conversion programs, and summer youth camps. Other training courses have included guided ceramics workshops, carpentry classes, and a laser-cutting course.

Community Shop Class has also unveiled a flagship Tiny Home project, in partnership with TYNR Homes, where trainees and apprentices will learn and hone their manufacturing skills through the process of constructing tiny-home units to be sold locally back into the community.

Community Shop Class is dedicated to helping neurodivergent learners connect with lifelong skillsets in a sustainable, hands-on, and community-oriented environment, as well as providing students and members with opportunities, internships, and connections wherever possible.

What Does Membership Mean at Community Shop Class?

At Community Shop Class, we represent, encourage, and celebrate neurodivergence, creative thinkers, and active doers. Members have access to the workshop, event schedule, and tool-lending library.  

Membership Also Means A Place to Belong

Community Shop Class is dedicated to growing and cultivating a sense of community with its neighbors in Oak Park.

The doors of the CSC are open for members to tinker, create and explore among inclusive and open-minded people. Community Shop Class strives to provide its neighbors not only with experience and education, but also as a venue for community and family gatherings.

 

written by Peter Vickland

Community Shop Class is place for adults who want to be children, and for children who want to become great adults.”

How Much Does Membership Cost?

The monthly fee for membership in Community Shop Class’s ADHD Inventor’s Club is $49.99. Members have access to the shop and tool library, as well as 30% off the enrollment fee for all classes and training programs through Community Shop Class.

What Does It Mean To Be Neurodivergent?

“Neurodivergent” is defined by Oxford Languages as “differing in mental or neurological function from what is considered typical or normal (frequently used with reference to autistic spectrum disorders); not neurotypical.”

According to Business Insider, an estimated 15-20 percent of the US population is neurodivergent. As understanding of neurodivergence grows, companies must reimagine the very foundations of workplace culture. 

Community Shop Class is dedicated to equipping neurodivergent and atypical learners with the skills they need to be real assets to themselves and their own community. We seek to provide our trainees with the tools, language, and background knowledge they need to work in the trades. 

The Philosophy of Good-Neighborism

At Community Shop Class, we seek to educate the community with inclusivity, safety, and equal representation at the front of our focus. We believe that that workshop should be a safe space for the community to come together, not only to utilize our training programs and tool facilities but also as a social space to be humans together.

Community Shop Class has provided open mics for the neighborhood musical talent and community listening sessions for our youth, so that the voices of Oak Park have a place to be heard.

All of this, we believe, encapsulates our guiding philosophy of Good-Neighborism. Community Shop Class seeks to be a good neighbor, not only to the other businesses on our block, but to the people that make up our neighborhood. Following the philosophy of the timeless Mr. Rodgers, Community Shop Class is a place of love and respect for those of any age who want to learn and grow.

How Do We Encourage Neurodivergent Learning?

At Community Shop Class we are interested in increasing the accessibility points to non-typical learning environments that stimulate and de-arm neurodivergent thinkers, unlike traditional academic settings. We actively maintain a safe and productive environment that encourages curiosity and personal development so that the technical skills gained in our classes, and the lessons learned, go far beyond one’s time in the shop.

From the lesson plans to the very layout of the rooms, Community Shop Class has been designed with neurodivergent learners in mind. Chad Orcutt, CSC founder and self-appointed janitor, points out that spatial anxiety can often discourage neurodivergent learners form achieving their full potential in large, wide-open rooms. For this reason, Community Shop Class is divided into smaller nooks and niches, where learners of any kind can feel comfortable as they engage with the training.

The summer youth and young-adult programs and internships also train neurodivergent learners in essential life skills. Beyond the basics of woodworking and construction, as provided in the trade skills training courses, Community Shop Class can also provide a wealth of knowledge on everyday fixes – such as oil changes and basic plumbing – in an interactive, neurodivergent-friendly context.

How to Support Community Shop Class

Community Shop Class is a volunteer-based not-for-profit organization, and we could always use your help! Here are some ways you can support us:

          Volunteer Your Time: Community Shop Class is in need of volunteers to assist on class project days, regular maintenance, event organization. If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact us here (link)

          Recommend Eligible Learners: We’re looking for eligible learners to fill our programs. If you or someone you know is interested in a technical career path, learn more or reach out to us here (link).  

          Donate Supplies: If you have tools or consumables in good condition, consider donating them to the tool library at Community Shop Class. Items such as sandpaper, wood glue, hardware, power-tool batteries, and replacement blades are highly welcomed!

          Contribute Money: Shop Class uses donations to offset the cost of running training programs, compensate certain internships, and purchase materials. If you’d like to donate funds to Community Shop Class, please follow this link.

 

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Want to Join The guild?

Here at Community Shop Class we call our membership, "The ADHD Inventors Guild" 

The Guild is open to anyone; all we ask is that you are accepting, kind, and supportive of our diverse community members. We believe in good-neighborism, and that creativity equals problem solving. Through this philosophy we have built a thriving local collective. Please join us for learning, mentorship, and communal growth.

Get started on your path to making a project, finding a career, or learning a new process.

 

CONTACT US + COME VISIT

Please feel free to reach out, ask questions, email us, and come visit our wonderful on-site location in the heart of Oak Park!

Tuesday 9 tp 7 PM

Wednesday 9 to 5 PM

Thursday 9 to 5 PM

Friday 9 to 5 PM

Saturday 10 to 5 PM

Email

chad@communityshopclass.org

Support

+1 916 690 5635

LOCATION

3818 STOCKTON BLVD