October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. DDSO’s Employment Plus program provides opportunities for participants to contribute to the community through coursework, paid on-the-job training, community association, volunteering, and employment! Every week this month, we’ll be regularly FEATURING some of our employed program participants. Get to know them and what they do!
View last week’s interview here.
Our first featured participant this week is ZACH!
Zach is truly a shining star. ☆ He is a motivational speaker for self-advocacy and active advocate for the national organization Cal-TASH as the vice president of the California division!
ZACH’S CAREER JOURNEY: Zach first began working for E+ in 2011 as part of the janitorial and landscaping teams. From the beginning, he has always had a strong desire to improve, help others, and be independent! In 2016, Zach was hired to work for E+ as a Career Counselor, where he helped aid local citizens with disabilities hoping to re-enter the workforce. In 2017, an opportunity to work in the Statehouse Restaurant full-time opened up; Zach aced the interview, and has been working there ever since! His official position is as a dishwasher, but over time he has taken on more responsibility and helps head chef Dan Watterson with light food prep and catering assistance!
HOBBIES: Zach is passionate about advocacy, community service, and music. Zach says his hobbies are volunteering for the homeless and attending concerts, mostly R&B and Christian music. He loves to travel and sight-see all over the states!
OVERCOMING CHALLENGES: Zach says that his biggest challenge on the job is remembering to take things out of the oven on time and not letting things overcook or burn. It gets pretty busy in the restaurant! In order to overcome this challenge, he uses a timer as a tool to notify him when food is ready.
FAVORITE PART ABOUT WORKING: Zach’s favorite thing about working is being able to earn his own paycheck. Because of this job, he is able to afford travelling, sightseeing, and attending seminars for his advocacy work! However, just as important as the financial independence is the sense of family he has with his coworkers and staff at the restaurant. He is friendly with all of his coworkers and Zach loves hanging out and doing activities with them after work is done!
Our next featured participant is JIT!
Jit is a very friendly, bubbly woman. She started working at the Statehouse Restaurant in March, 2019. Because she works at the Statehouse, she can practice using public transportation and be a productive, active member of the Sacramento community! Before that she used to help out in the DDSO Employment Plus office by answering phones as a receptionist, and did a great job answering questions about E+.
HOBBIES: In her free time, Jit enjoys cooking food, watching cooking shows on TV, cleaning and organizing her things. Jit is caring and loves to teach! She likes helping others learn how to clean and stay organized just like her.
HOPES AND DREAMS: Jit said she would like to be even more independent than she is now. So far she is able to independently commute to work using public transportation, but she would like to live independently one day, too.
OVERCOMING CHALLENGES: Jit’s official position at the Statehouse restaurant is as a Dishwasher, but she also helps Chef Dan Watterson with some light food prep! A challenge for Jit is grasping new tasks / learning new things on the job. She overcomes the challenge by persevering and practicing new tasks until she has it down.
FAVORITE PART ABOUT WORKING: Jit says she likes working because it is no fun staying home. Jit agrees with Zach and thinks besides staying busy, she also enjoys the sense of community at the Statehouse restaurant. She is friends with her coworkers and likes being able to see and work with them everyday!
Dan Watterson, Executive Chef at the Statehouse restaurant said:
“I really appreciate how much [Zach and Jit’s presence] helped to bring the Statehouse Restaurant team together!”
The Statehouse Eatery/Cafe is located in the Capitol basement, right across from DDSO’s Capitol Books and Gifts Statehouse Restaurant is partnered with DDSO and St. Johns Program for Real Change! Besides offering full-time employment to adults with developmental disabilities and women who have overcome homelessness, Statehouse Restaurant frequently gives back to the community and supports other non-profits.
Are you an employer looking to hire the right talent, right now? Consider a trial period. There are plenty of amazing workers just like Zach and Jit waiting for you to give them a chance- Contact DDSO Employment Plus now. We also offer contracts for Landscaping, Janitorial, or other Maintenance jobs!