Robert wakes and leaves the Providence Place campus early to ride the bus to his dishwasher job at Cracker Barrel. With traffic, the bus ride can take almost two hours. However, you won’t hear any complaints from Robert. It’s his first job and he’s thrilled to have it. He likes the people he works with and the spending money his job provides.
“Usually, it’s difficult to find employers interested in working with people with disabilities,” said Deadra Stewart, Providence Place Job Coach. “Robert’s General Manager, Efraín Treviño, is different. He adapts to their skills and matches the person and his or her abilities to the job.”
With the idea of being fair to all his workers, Efraín gives everyone a chance. Besides Robert, he has hired two others from Providence Place.
“When we consider applicants, we’re looking for motivated and great people, disabilities or not” he said. “We want them to be committed to serve others and we want them to do their job well.”
When asked why so many employers are unwilling to hire people with disabilities, Efraín said he believes people who don’t know much about adults with disabilities fear it will be difficult to work effectively with them. For Efraín sees it differently as his wife specializes in special needs and two nephews are ID (Intellectually Disabled). It was knowing these relatives that made him not at all hesitant to work with them.
“Personally, I’ve had great experiences with people with disabilities,” he said. “They are eager to learn and they bring a great attitude with them. They are really hard workers and take direction very well. I promise you, other employers miss out.”
Robert knows the importance of being on time and arriving early to have time to get ready. The quick pace at the Work Training Center helped him adapt to the pace of a restaurant.
“I’ve learned so much at Center for Higher Independence (CHI) that helps me to do my job well,” he said. “CHI also taught me how to ride the bus by myself to get where I want to go, and how to get ready for an interview.”
When the pace at his job is crazy, which is often is at meal times, he says he just reminds himself he’s handled it in the past and can do it again. He also learned it’s important to get along with his coworkers and to help each other. Robert’s especially proud he just celebrated his first 90 days at his first job and sees it as a great accomplishment.
“I’m proud of Robert’s accomplishments, because of his perseverance and dedication,” said Deadra. “Yes, we took some students to a job fair, and Robert applied, went to the interview and got the job. I worked with Robert for the initial training, and provided support throughout the first 90 days of employment. Reports I received from his manager were positive and Robert continues to be an asset to his employer.”
To help students become more independent, Efraín has even offered to train Providence Place students to adapt to the relentless pace of restaurants. His idea is to show them the reality of work outside campus before they graduate.
“If I have advice to give other students I would say: getting the job is the easiest part, the hardest part is to keep it,” said Robert. “Focus on keeping a positive attitude and everything should be alright.”
If you are a business owner, or if you know a business owner interested in hiring CHI students, please contact Deadra Stewart at 210-696-2410, ext. 183, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are looking for employers in San Antonio, and elsewhere in Texas as many students want to go back to their hometown to work.