“To look back and see all that I have accomplished amazes me. I would not change a thing!”
Mat Baker’s career as a learning trainer began after joining PRIDE Industries’ Amazon Placement program in 2018. The journey wasn’t always easy, as a severe anxiety disorder initially prevented him from interacting with others or seeking a job. Employment with Amazon gave Mat the confidence and skills to overcome these obstacles and earn several promotions. He shares his journey below:
“Throughout my entire life, I suffered from severe panic attacks and anxiety, which prevented me from interacting with others, especially in large crowds. At the same time, staying at home in isolation gave me a feeling of inadequacy, causing more anxiety. It was a vicious cycle that felt impossible to overcome.
Now, just two years later, so much has changed! I am employed as a learning trainer at Amazon’s Sortation Center in Vacaville, CA. I feel comfortable in what is a very hands-on position— I help train new hires and manage 60 Ambassadors to coach other associates. I’m part of a large team; all of us work together to make sure our customers get their packages on time!
From day one, PRIDE provided the foundation for my amazing growth. This journey would not have happened without their job coaches. They showed me exactly what to expect and checked on me every step of the way. Job Coach Jarmar Pearson advocated for me every day, and I can’t thank him enough!
This was my first job, and at the beginning, it felt daunting having to work with so many people. And there was so much to learn! But using techniques from therapy, I was able to keep a positive attitude and overcome these challenges. I remember asking the learning trainers follow-up questions, and they were always patient with me, helping to build my confidence, and speak up more.
I worked hard, and it paid off. When managers started to request me in their areas, I knew I could move up. When a learning trainer asked me to become an ambassador, I signed up immediately. Since I had to interact with up to 10 new hires every day, I gradually felt less anxious around others.
Later, the learning trainers and the learning coordinator encouraged me to apply for a job as a seasonal trainer. Despite the fierce competition for this position, I got the job. Even though I joined during our peak season, when Amazon hires thousands of people, I rose to the challenge and earned the respect of my team. I was hired permanently in February 2020. I am proud of my ability to overcome the difficulties related to my disability. It’s exciting to realize that two years ago, I was a nervous associate coached by a learning trainer; now, I am the one teaching others! This incredible experience has created positive changes throughout my whole life.
No words can express my gratitude for the support, the encouragement, and the hope that PRIDE has given other associates with disabilities and me. I love my job. It’s been a long, rewarding road, and now the sky is the limit. I plan on becoming a learning coordinator or an area manager. Trust me when I say I won’t be stopping here!”
Interested in building a career with Amazon? Check out PRIDE’s Amazon Placement Program.