As online applications become the standard, face-to-face introductions often give job seekers an edge. This option may be difficult for people that have challenges with verbal communication. PRIDE is here to help navigate options and provide support. PRIDE’s Job Developers reach out to businesses in the community to help place people with disabilities in the perfect job, creating the means for lasting employment success.
During this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, PRIDE’s Employment Services team remains hard at work to place individuals in employment. Using videoconferencing, they are reviewing resumes, practicing online interviewing, and focusing on placements in in-demand fields such as grocery stores, fulfillment, and custodial jobs.
Carlos Perez is a Job Developer at PRIDE Industries. He places individuals in community employment and supports them through the process of getting an internship, a permanent job, and their first three months of employment. He shares his story with PRIDE below:
“While studying Psychology at Sacramento State, I continued to work at Safeway as a Store Associate. I enjoyed mentoring those who were new to the job, including ways to help customers pick out the right produce and checking them out at the cash register.
During my time at Safeway, a few individuals from PRIDE’s Employment Services Program also worked at this store as well. In 2016, I met PRIDE Job Coach John Edwards, who explained PRIDE’s mission to create job opportunities for people with disabilities. I was so impressed by PRIDE’s work that when the opportunity came up, I took a chance and joined as a Job Coach in 2017.
Job coaches help ensure the long-term success of individuals with disabilities after job placement. I work with people with a variety of disabilities, including many on the Autism (ASD) spectrum. Everyone has their unique talents; for example, those with ASD often have excellent memory and organizational skills. However, all placements work hard to contribute to their position.
After a year, I was promoted to Job Developer for PRIDE’s Youth Services program, focusing on placing young adults that have disabilities, who are emancipating from foster care, and survivors of sex trafficking into employment.
Getting to that final point can be a challenge, as it ranges from 4 – 7 months to place a person. Ultimately, it comes down to the individual’s persistence and willingness to continue.
Many of my clients have dealt with trauma. We are sensitive to their pasts and help them develop more confidence by creating their resumes and arranging for paid internships in community internships.
Retail jobs are my most frequent placements; it’s an excellent match for my clients as they are just getting into the job market and have the chance to build up necessary skills such as customer service.
Knowing how to talk to employers is tough for anyone, especially if you have a disability. Many of my clients communicate differently and struggle with eye contact and anxiety. Following up with the employer often helps, they are more willing to give the individual an opportunity once they learn that PRIDE is there to provide on-going support
When approaching a potential employer to help place an individual, I usually go in-person to introduce myself. Paper only gets you so far!
Along with job planning, I help my clients develop an education plan if they desire to attend college. I remind them that it is essential to focus on performing well at their jobs; it’s a good stepping stone to building a career. I use my previous experience at Safeway as an example, as it taught me a strong work ethic and customer service skills.
When my clients get jobs, and their families thank me, it’s truly priceless and the best part of my job. Helping one person might not change the whole world, but it could change the world for one person.”