October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). NDEAM brings the issue of employment for people with disabilities to light. Individuals with disabilities face unemployment at nearly four times the rate of the general population. This stubborn statistic is not due to lack of interest or skills – but a lack of opportunity.
Last October, we introduced a group of women who participated in the “Presenting Yourself Positively in an Interview,” makeover event. The event exclusively supported job seekers with disabilities.
Seven women enrolled in PRIDE Industries’ Supported Employment Program received makeovers. The event served a diverse group of women from all walks of life, each with unique obstacles and stories.
We followed up on their progress, and here we share with you:
After participating in the makeover event, Alysha got a boost of confidence and soon after landed a job. We are happy to report that in December 2014, Alysha joined PRIDE Industries’ custodial team ensuring that the Sacramento International Airport’s Terminal B is sparkling clean.
Alysha has an anxiety disorder. Although there were many disability-related challenges, Alysha made an effort to pursue self-sufficiency and independence.
When asked how life is different now, Alysha replies: “I do not spend so much time in my room, or look for other ways to avoid interacting with people.” Working at the airport has also helped Alysha overcome her anxiety.
More about Alysha’s journey, click here.
Employment success often follows a windy path for individuals with disabilities. Ashley has, not one, but multiple challenges. She has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and Asperger’s – an autism spectrum disorder. She has attention-deficit hyperactivity, depression and anxiety and mood disorders.
Despite the challenges, Ashley never gave up. Soon after the makeover event, she landed a retail job. While the job was only seasonal, it was a great learning experience and a step forward on her journey.
Now, Ashley is a courtesy clerk with the locally headquartered grocery chain, Raley’s. Working at the grocery store provides a welcome environment where she sees the potential for a long-term future.
More about Ashley’s success, click here.
At the time of the makeover event, Pamela was a volunteer at a thrift shop. Soon after, she landed a paid internship at WeaveWorks Recycled Fashion in Sacramento. Pamela earned the internship through PRIDE Industries’ Employment Services Program.
She excelled in the internship and WeaveWorks offered her a permanent position. At WeaveWorks, Pamela assists the receiving team and is a valuable asset to the group.
More about Pamela’s journey to employment success, click here.
Four more women received makeovers as part of their employment journey. One is thriving as an in-home care provider. A second recipient volunteers with a local hospital and hopes it will translate into regular employment. Two remain unemployed. One continues to pursue an opportunity in the insurance field; the other put the job search on hold due to disability-related setbacks.
For 49 years, PRIDE’s mission has been to create jobs for people with disabilities. We know that disability does not mean inability and that employment builds confidence, self-reliance, and dignity. The path can be long and full of twists and turns. For some, it can take a few months; for others it could take years. However, when a person with disabilities becomes gainfully employed, we know that opportunity will greatly impact him/her and those around them.
Pamela, Ashley, and Alysha are just a few of our countless successes. We look forward to following all of the women along their paths and will continue to cheer them on.