“People have underestimated me my whole life,” Mario Garcia, a former PRIDE Industries employee says. “When I came to PRIDE, I was treated with respect.”
Since December 2015, Mario Garcia worked at PRIDE’s South Sacramento site, as a production associate. At an early age, Mario was diagnosed with an intellectual disability and received special education classes until graduating from high school.
Once at PRIDE Industries, Mario’s work ethic, dedication and positive attitude earned him a position within an off-site work group, a critical component of PRIDE’s Supported Employment Program.
Our Supported Employment Program partners with local businesses to meet their contracted workforce needs while creating community-based jobs for people with disabilities. PRIDE’s structured approach provides a support system that includes job trainers, case manager/counselors, and supervisors who understand each person’s disability to help these individuals overcome day-to-day challenges.
“My case manager did not think of me as a client with a disability,” Mario says. “He always believed in me and made me feel like I could do anything.”
Working in a small group providing support to Visions Paint Recycling in Sacramento, Mario’s efforts were recognized. Earlier this year, the company offered Mario a full-time position as a staff member.
At Visions, Mario’s daily tasks include unloading trailers, organizing shipping and receiving of products, sorting recycled paint and more. Mario has taken the skills he learned at PRIDE and applied them to his current job. His supervisors have noted that he is very respectful, dresses appropriately and is one of their hardest workers.
The road to full-time community inclusion has not been easy. Each morning is a challenge for Mario since he lacks a driver’s license and must depend on public transportation. Monday thru Friday, he catches the light rail at 5 am, connects to a regional transit bus, and then walks the remainder of the way. This long commute has not deterred Mario from maintaining almost perfect attendance.
With grit, determination and motivated by his 13-year-old son, Mario, a single father, provides for his family and overcomes challenges he may face due to his disability. His next goal is to become a supervisor at Visions.