David Ludwick joined PRIDE Industries in August 2009. He is as a worker on the roads and grounds crew, an important part of the base wide facilities services that PRIDE provides to the D.P.W. at Fort Bliss, TX.
David is a post-Vietnam veteran. While he served his country – it seemed his country had forgotten David. His disability made it difficult for him to find, or hold, employment. He was anxious in interviews, resulting in closed doors. Seasonal work was not sufficient to sustain him, and he had been in and out of the system for so long that supports were no longer there and the transition to full time work was extremely challenging. He had no connection to family, and eventually he had no home.
David had been homeless for a number of years when he was referred to PRIDE’s Employment Services office in El Paso. PRIDE’s Employment Services staff works to create employment opportunities for people with disabilities across the country, including in El Paso where many individuals with disabilities find opportunity on PRIDE’s contract at Fort Bliss, TX.
PRIDE saw through David’s challenges to his potential. In partnership with the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), PRIDE supported David’s efforts for personal rehabilitation, including the restoration of services that he had once been receiving. It took the combined efforts of DARS, several VA programs, Goodwill, PRIDE’s Employment Services Office and HR department at Ft. Bliss to help David succeed. But most of all, it was David’s determination to keep on working toward the goal of employment and stabilization that helped him to achieve his goals.
David worked hard and participated in many services to get prepared to work. With support and training, he has thrived in his job – his first full-time job in years. He has formed friendships with members of his crew, happily takes on additional responsibilities, and has the respect of his supervisors. In addition to a paycheck and benefits, David has earned self-sufficiency and independence. Once homeless and unemployed, David now has a home and a future.
When PRIDE’s Employment Services Manager talked to David about highlighting him for this success story, he was really moved. He said, “It started out just a regular day, and now look what has happened!” He thanked us sincerely, and then said, “This was really a team effort. It wasn’t just me. It was all of us working together.” There really has been a huge change in David and in his life since we started working with him 2 years ago. We are all really proud of him!
When PRIDE and its partners and customers work together to create jobs and opportunities for individuals with disabilities, we all benefit – as tax consumers become community contributors. But the most important measure of our success is the transformational change it makes in the lives of people like David.