DES Helps Man Find Job and Start His Journey toward Independence
“Anybody can do anything if they really want to.”
With independence comes a certain sense of satisfaction in knowing you got where you are through your own hard work and perseverance. That isn’t to say you need to set on your path alone. Independence often means taking the initiative to find the resources and tools you need to get where you want to go. In Vincent’s case, he was able to leverage the supports and services available to him through the DES Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) and the Division of Employment and Rehabilitation’s (DERS) Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program to launch his career. The VR program provides services to individuals with disabilities with the goal to prepare the person for, enter into, and/or retain employment.
It started with that simple, yet incredible goal: Vincent wanted to become more independent. His DDD care manager referred him to the employment services available through the VR program to help him find his way. VR counselor, Yolanda Settles, and a VR Job Developer set out to succeed on Vincent’s behalf.
Many people who tap into VR’s resources are referred to a neurological psychologist or psychiatrist. Through testing, these medical professionals determine the individual’s cognitive skills, aptitude and physical limitations, if any. After testing, a comprehensive assessment of the applicant’s capabilities is given to the VR counselor to determine which work setting would be most appropriate for the individual’s vocational success.
Vincent’s mother, Sharon, says that she and Vincent went back to see [Yolanda] several times. “We gave her [Yolanda] a copy of his resume and she did all the work.” Yolanda lined up interviews with potential employers and she even drove Vincent to his appointments.
“He was able to talk to them [the interviewers] by himself and get himself a job,” said Sharon. “He did all of that on his own.”
The individual’s past work-related experience, such as volunteer work, is also a big help in landing a paying position. Vincent had worked at his high school, MetroTech, by prepping food for the cafeteria. He also volunteered at Encanto Park as a Corporate Picnic Greeter, and at the Adam Diaz Senior Center. This hands-on experience helped him prepare for a competitive job.
Also, while in high school, Vincent learned how to navigate the Valley Metro bus system. Transfers were particularly “tricky” at first, but a friend helped him along. “He first started learning to transfer [bus lines] when he wanted to go to church at times when I wasn’t going to church,” said Sharon. “He had a friend at church who started helping him with that,” so he could attend the Young Adults Bible study meetings.
With Yolanda’s help, Vincent obtained a job at Banner University Medical Center as a dishwasher. He leverages his bus transfer experience to commute to his job. By riding two bus lines, his commute takes about one hour each way. Still, he prefers to arrive early. “Sometimes, it’s too early,” said Vincent. Sharon added, “His boss talked to him about not coming in too early.”
As for the job itself, Vincent is pleased. “I like the hours. I enjoy people, the people I work with. I enjoy talking with my boss - he’s always interested in how I’m doing.”
Proudly, Sharon noted her son has had two excellent performance reviews. “Since he’s been there, he’s gotten two raises. So, each time they do an evaluation, they give him a little bit [more]. His boss says [Vincent is] one of his best workers,” said Sharon.
Vincent has also learned how to manage his finances. “I give him money [that] he uses … to buy food at the hospital,” said Sharon. “Every week he manages his money. Most of the time, he’s just buying food or sodas. When it comes to other things, he usually asks; he doesn’t just go out and buy things without asking. He does go to the movies and he does pay for the movies.”
Many times, the bus going home is late. When that happens, Sharon lines up a cab or Lyft service for her son. “I will set [up the transportation], he gets on a list, then he’s able to come home and pay for it on the phone with his money. He rides a Lyft quite often.”
Vincent has set two goals: (1) to improve himself and (2) to become more independent. Although he enjoys living at home with his father and mother, Vincent is planning his next step toward independence: living on his own.
“I’ve got the job down,” said Vincent. “I don’t mind being at home [living with his mother and father], but sometimes [I think] I’m getting to that age where I feel like I want more [independence].” Currently, he does his own cleaning and laundry, and is working on his cooking skills.
Vincent is also giving thought to his future in terms of employment. For example, he’s considering a possible position at the hospital’s cafeteria. “Maybe prepping food,” which he did at MetroTech.
With his accomplishments to date and future goals clearly set, Vincent reminds us that “Anybody can do anything if they really want to.”
August 5, 2021
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Pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other nondiscrimination laws and authorities, ADES does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. Persons that require a reasonable modification based on language or disability should submit a request as early as possible to ensure the State has an opportunity to address the modification. The process for requesting a reasonable modification can be found at Equal Opportunity and Reasonable Modification.