Building a Successful Career

HinojosaJulio_blog

“Working at PRIDE has helped me accomplish my goals and brought me professional success.”

Julio Hinojosa is a young adult with a borderline intellectual disability that has earned a successful career with PRIDE Industries. Approximately 6.5 million people in the United States have an intellectual disability, which occurs when a person experiences limitation in cognitive functioning and problem-solving. These individuals have a harder time finding employment options and participate in the labor force at about half the rate of typically developing adults. However, given the right environment and support, people with intellectual disabilities can fulfill needed career positions and make excellent employees.

Julio graduated from a high school transition program that assisted students with disabilities to help find employment and learn independent life skills. As part of the program, he completed vocational training in electrical work, expressing interest in working in a technical field. With this preference, Julio was referred by the Department of Rehabilitative Services in 2011 to PRIDE Industries’ Ft. Bliss, TX facilities and maintenance contract – starting his career working as a Grounds Maintenance Laborer in the Roads & Grounds department.

Adjusting to a new trade was not always easy. Due to his disability, Julio struggled with problem-solving on the job and had difficulty using the correct writing to explain the work he performed on service orders. With help from his supervisor, coworkers and job coach, he learned how to write down his orders with accuracy and worked on maintaining concentration to finish assigned tasks on time.

“Julio is very shy,” says Rehabilitation Manager Shannon Bloxham. “He required a lot of guidance, but has learned by observation and hands-on training – improving his confidence and skills.”

Within this supportive environment, Julio continued to advance in his career. He was promoted to Maintenance Trades Helper in the Electrical department in 2014 and later to General Maintenance Worker in 2016. Furthering his expertise, he entered the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) Apprenticeship program and is now a year shy of finishing the four-year program. With guidance and mentorship from his coworkers, Julio passed his State Journeyman Electrician’s exam in 2017 and was promoted to Electrician.

Working for PRIDE not only brought career success but also carried over in Julio’s personal life. He recently got married and purchased his first home. “I enjoy the hands-on-work of electrical work and perfecting my craft while working in the welcoming environment at PRIDE,” says Julio. “Julio is a very hard-working employee and has shown dedication and ambition to get to where he is today,” says Shannon Bloxham.

Shriver’s Shared Vision

Eunice Kennedy Shriver passed away August 11, 2009. Inspired by her own sister’s story, Shriver was a leader in opening minds and opening doors for people with developmental disabilities at a time when intellectual disabilities were hidden and not discussed.

A statement issued by her family states that she “set out to change the world and to change us, and she did that and more.”  In July, 1968, Eunice Kennedy Shriver convened the first Special Olympics Games only a few weeks after her younger brother, Robert, was assassinated in Los Angeles. That day she spoke before a crowd outnumbered by athletes representing only 26 states and Canada. Today, Special Olympics athletes from 181 countries compete in games highlighted around the globe.

“The right to play on any playing field? You have earned it.
The right to study in any school? You have earned it.
The right to hold a job? You have earned it.
The right to be anyone’s neighbor? You have earned it.”

-Eunice Kennedy Shriver – 1987 Special Olympics World Games

Shriver was awarded the nation’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984 in recognition of her work on behalf of those with developmental disabilities.  Hers was a  lifetime devoted to the service of others – a relentless and powerful advocate for the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.  Her legacy extends well beyond the  success of Special Olympics and the individual lives she touched.  Her passionate belief in the dignity and worth of every human life is our shared belief, and her struggle to highlight capabilities instead of disabilities is at the heart of our mission at PRIDE Industries.